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Showing posts from 2012

Opinions wanted on phones

I just bought a new laptop and now I’m getting the bug for a smartphone.I have a dumbphone, you see, running on a prepaid no-contract service from Wal-Mart (which I’m pleased with overall). I could buy an unlocked iPhone 4 off of eBay for not too much (in the grand scheme of things) but I’m not sure I can so far justify the purchase and subsequent upgrade from the $30 phone plan to the $45 one.So, I’m curious about everyone else’s experience with smartphones and usage thereof. Or random observations that make me laugh. Points for any good jokes involving journalists using smartphones in a dumb fashion.

Most viewed posts of 2012

The thing I love about these kinds of posts is that, though obviously canned and not creative, they’re still interesting!Without further ado, the 10 posts of 2012 that gathered the most individual pageviews. Stats are drawn from the Google Analytics tool thing, and I have no idea how accurate they are, but they’re a decent starting point.7 views – “LOMO #24: Guacamole,” in which I wonder why people first decided to eat a mushy Martian-green food.7 views – “LOMO #22: Road tripping,” in which I picture an iPod radio broadcaster powered by miniature windmills.8 views – “LOMO #30: Lists,” in which I complain about grocery lists.10 views – “Reader interaction,” in which my beloved readers suggest topics to write about. (I have used some of them and do intend to hit the rest at some point!)11 views – “LOMO #31: Jane Austen movies,” in which I make fun of back-of-the-box movie blurbs.11 views – “LOMO #3: Patterns,” in which I describe, tongue-in-cheek, the progress of a sewing project.13 vie…

Also, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

¡Feliz Navidad!Joyeux Noel!Mele Kalikimaka!The things you learn from obscure Christmas songs. I attended a family swing dance and taught about a dozen people the basics of east coast single-step swing. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own photograhpic evidence of this splendid occasion – the pictures are all on my relatives’ Facebook pages instead.What did you do this Christmas weekend?

Life on my own #36: Mattress deductions

I came home from work this evening, carefully inching my way up the main street so as to avoid sliding on the new-fallen snow and crashing into the sidewalk.I gingerly stepped one foot at a time along the sidewalk at home to get to my mailbox.I saw a double-bed mattress sitting on the front porch.Somebody, please explain to me what UD*  is doing with a mattress… oh, and a bed frame… on the front porch.They’re not even set up so you can sit on them. At least then I might postulate that someone decided to experiment with living in the cool weather that Eskimos experience. Instead, the mattress is leaning up against one of the porch posts.Also, the mattress is covered in flowers, as if it were the mattress my grandmother picked out to match the wallpaper. A lovely winter view for my front window, but not exactly your typical masculine print. All I can surmise is that it was acquired secondhand.And if they remain there much longer – accompanied, in fact, by a strange station wagon that ap…

It’s 12/12/12!

I just felt obligated to point that out. Also to point out the interchangeability of the 12s, so that date could be read in U.S. or international style and still indicate the same day.In addition, this is the last day for about 88 years that all the numbers in a date will match. I will probably not be alive to see 01/01/2101, sad to say.I think, at 12:12 p.m. today, I will attempt something marvelous. Not sure what yet.Maybe I’ll bake some banana bread.

Compendium of Links #35: Music and philosophy

I got sick last Saturday night while at work. You know that already. That means I spent the entire weekend cooped up at home, with the exception of the absolutely necessary trips: to pay the electric bill, to buy groceries and non-expired cold medicine and to do laundry.That also means I had a lot of time to goof off. Because when you’re sick, you’re supposed to take it easy. Thus my predicament: Lots of time that I can spend, but not with people. We wouldn’t want to infect my entire church/extended family now, would we?For today’s Compendium, let’s first look at a list of April Fool’s Day food and drink hoaxes. Including Squeeze Bacon. (Thx to da baum for da link.)A writer for The New York Times recently exhorted my generation to take a hard look at the ironic lifestyle so many live. From the article, titled “How to Live without Irony:”Throughout history, irony has served useful purposes, like providing a rhetorical outlet for unspoken societal tensions. But our contemporary ironic m…

Life on my own #35: Live-blogging the apartment (again)

Upstairs Dweller, a guy, usually works second shift. But for the last two days he’s actually been around here in the evening. Don’t ask me why; I haven’t a clue.And tonight, as I was gleefully pecking away at my keyboard, UD did a few strange things.He jingled his keys around upstairs. (OK, not so strange.)He came downstairs and flicked the porch light on and off a couple times. Click, click, click.(We have really loud old-fashioned light switches. They’re push-button style.)He went back into the foyer and clicked a light in there on and off a few times. Click, click, click.And only then does go back upstairs (to fetch his forgotten keys?) and then back downstairs to start up the truck.Which didn’t catch the first time. Squeeeeak goes a belt.It’s an ancient, two-tone Ford, I think, so I’m not surprised at the noises it makes. The ones produced by the Ford’s owner, however…

Life on my own #34: Sicky-poo

I came down with a cold last night while I was at work.It was me and the sports editor most of the evening. I sneezed. And sneezed again. (The sports editor just kept talking to some coach over the phone.) I read over pages and tried explaining the corrections to the page designer by phone, as usual. However, this conversation when something like this:Me: “OK, I’ve got corrections for you on A1 and A8.”Designer: “All right, give me two shakes of a leg to open this thing up.”(pause)Me: “Ok. In the hoops skybox, where it says Boys and Girls in Actions, can you take the S off of Actions, make it… not plural? I mean singular?”Designer: “Gotcha. Next?”Me: “OK, now there needs to be a line around the picture. I mean a box. A border?”Designer: “Got it fixed.”Me: “OK, now there’s some weirdness going on with the… byline! the byline for the holiday cheer article. It’s what, too far to the right. I mean left.”Designer: “I see it. Yeah somebody broke the styles or something. I caught all the res…

Compendium of Links #34

So I went back to figure out what number of the Compendia this should be… and realized I haven’t posted a Compendium since August. No wonder I’ve got like 50 tabs open. So here are a smattering:I want to buy this computer. I think I really will.The American Chesterton Society has virtual meetings!! And they’re on Mondays! I might have to participate one of these coming months… (Kudos to my sissy for the link!)What kind of book reader are you? The Atlantic Wire will tell you. I think I’m a chronological reader:You are the tortoise to the promiscuous reader's distracted-at-any-turn hare. You buy a book, you read it. You buy another, you read it. Perhaps you borrow a book at the library. You read it, and then you return it, and you get another, which you will read. You may not remember where you began, what the first book that kicked it all off was, and you likely have no idea where you'll end, but the point is, you will go through each book methodically and reasonably, until it …

Time machine 1812: Dancing in the lantern-light

If you’ve met me in person, you know how much I hate the cold.I like socks. I love coats. I adore blankets, gloves and hats. I’m best friends with my scarf. But surrounded by all these bosom buddies, I’m still a pitiful mess if subjected to temperatures below about 58 degrees.So what do I do when it’s cold outside at a reenactment? Well, my usual go-to solutions are out. (They’re all made of non-period-correct materials in non-period-correct patterns using non-period-correct machine stitching.) So I wear an old wool tablecloth that doubles nicely as a wrap/shawl thing. It’s adequate, but not ideal, to be sure.So at the reenactment’s evening dance, I was happy to be someplace – at last! – where the heat was trapped enough to provide about 68  degrees of temperature.And then the dancing began. I was supremely happy to be almost sweating.So you know how guys are always reluctant to get up and ask a girl to dance? Apparently that transcends time. But one of my cousins did decide he’d ask……

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is my favorite holiday. It’s all the family togetherness and gratefulness to God without all the stress of Christmas.This year, I’m mainly thankful for my family and my best friends from college. I could have the best job and the most awesome possessions, but none of it would mean anything without them; but with them, I could be working at a school supply warehouse all my life and living out of a basement and still be happy!But I’m also thankful for:Peanut butter fudgeSweet potatoesTextingChristmas lightsGuitar musicGlovesCar waxSocksBack pillowsLaptopsThe internetSewing machinesGlassesCard gamesFacebook (never thought you’d see that on my thankful list, did ya?)…and lots of other trivial things. But I digress.Since the Thanksgiving holiday has officially come, I allowed myself the inaugural Christmas gesture: I put up my Christmas tree this morning before going to work!It’s a Goodwill find, and it’s all intact and it even came with that tinsel hidden in the box. (The same day, I…

I went to Washington: U.S. History Museum

Back when I was mulling my art gallery choices – the modern art gallery or the portrait gallery – the hotel concierge had confirmed my inkling that the modern art gallery charged admission, but entrance to the National Portrait Gallery was free, as it was a portion of the Smithsonian. Or, I had already paid for it, he clarified, by being an American.Well, if tax dollars are going to support part of the Smithsonian, they must’ve paid for some high-end museum planners, because the exhibits were enthralling.Washington: US History Museum VIEW SLIDE SHOWDOWNLOAD ALL

Time machine 1812: Chicken-kitties and rain

I’m such a nerd, I wanted to dress up like I was back in Jane Austen’s time.Well,  maybe not for that precise reason. I wanted to participate in a reenactment, and conveniently, my cousins were planning on going to one they’ve done for the last five years that’s not too far from my new home. It was set in the War of 1812 time period – like much of Indiana history is – so I was tasked with sewing myself a period-correct dress, complete with all visible stitching done by hand.So there I was, perched on a Windsor-style wooden chair in my bright red linen dress. (Side note: I hate empire-waist dresses, but I suffered through this one all weekend for the sake of faithfulness to the period fashions. Would I ever do something like that for modern fashions? Nope. Call me inconsistent.) My cousins were all around, likewise attired in an oh-so-obsolete manner. We had two chickens trapped in a period-correct, reed-woven chicken cage.Then the kiddies came along and wanted to pet the chickens. Who…

Life on my own #33: Live blogging the apartment

Two or three guys enter the hall to the upstairs apartment. I, the innocent little downstairs-dweller, am sitting here. This is what I hear through the thin wall.“That smells like poop.”Some rustling.Mumble, mumble, mumble.Keys unlock the upstairs door.Sniff, grunt, mumble.(What, are they drunk or something? It’s too early.)“Yeah, that’s what Brian’s like…” and some strange groaning.Laughter.Dragging some sort of tarp-sounding thing upstairs.A chime or something.Singing. Yes, singing.More speech I can’t make out.A large burp.Whistling. And it’s not me.Talking.“Huh?”No response.“What? Where’d he go? There it is.”“Yep, it’s still there.”More tarp rustling.Mumbling.“No they’re not.”Mumbling.“Huh?”More mumbling. These guys have communication problems.I think I hear a TV or something.Singing…Speech.“Whoa, juice!” (Well, that’s what it sounded like.)----------------------No joke. I really did hear that in the last three minutes. I’m not making any of it up. (And yes, these are the same guys…

I went to Washington: The Cathedral

Riding a bus is different from riding the subway in just one way: You can see things out of the windows.The Washington buses, anyhow, differed in very little else. You use the plastic credit-card-looking SmartCard to pay your fare, same as the subways, and you sit in seats that are surprisingly clean and comfy. My entire experience with public transportation came in New York, New York, and San José, Costa Rica, so it would have taken very little cleanness (or comfiness) to surprise me.Oh, and you pull the little rope to tell the driver to stop. Otherwise he might not let you off where you want to go. The subway just stops everywhere.My first experience with a municipal bus system this side of the Río Grande came early Sunday morning, when I went to the National Cathedral. No direct route existed via subway, so with a little nervousness I took a subway to the nearest stop for the bus route that would take me direct to the Cathedral’s gate.The Washington metro website has this handy-dan…

I went to Washington: The Newseum

It appears to be a cardinal rule among journalists that if you visit Washington, your primary side trip must be to the Newseum.Thanks to a generous fellow conference-goer, I did make that side trip, and without paying the $23 (including tax) for the two-day entrance ticket.Washington: The Newseum VIEW SLIDE SHOWDOWNLOAD ALL