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July 2012

April 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

When I got my first cell phone, it wasn't really my cell phone, it belonged to Blackstone and me. We shared a cell phone. Can you imagine? We only really used it when we were out for the day, or if one of us was traveling, so we could keep in touch. This was way back in like 1997 or something.

When we were in college, we spoke on the phone about once a week. We even started emailing at one point. The kind of emailing where you had to call and ask if the other person had received it because the concept was so new and so foreign, we had no idea what we were doing. Our freshman year, we even wrote letters. Can you imagine college kids doing that today? It's a lost art form in my opinion. I still have those letters in a box somewhere. I get emotional every time I see them. Blackstone is really a gifted writer. And the fact that he took that time to hand write me a letter every week, that was true love.

Text_messageFast forward to text messaging. It took me a while to get Blackstone on board with that one. The guy spends a great deal of time in the woods in the middle of nowhere with no cell service and I had to fight with him to get him to text me. And once I convinced him, if I texted him too many times in a row he would often call me and ask what I wanted because he didn't want to keep typing. But this was still in the days before smart phones, so text messaging meant using the number pad on your phone. Remember that?

My first smart phone was a Droid and that was only a couple of years ago. I'm slowing becoming a Mac convert though, and now I have an iPhone. I honestly think there are pros and cons to both and you should consider what kind of user you are in making your decision. Even though I'm now on the iPhone, I still use Google for my email, calendar and all my contacts. I have no intention of switching that over to Apple. I'm happy with it where it is.

I love my smart phone. I'm not a gamer. I don't get Angry Birds, but it does come in handy when my kids are antsy. I do love me some Words With Friends, I have to admit. I have my Kindle App too, which is great when I'm sitting through practices or in a waiting room. I am slightly addicted to FB. Twitter annoyed me way back in the early days with all its crashing and I've only started poking around in my account recently.

Oh smart phone how do I love thee, let me count the ways: Evernote, Dolphin, Camera, iCloud, iTunes, Pandora, Shazam, Yelp, iPeriod, Flixster.

I don't know how Blackstone and I survived before we had shared Google Calendars with accounts on our phones and synced to Outlook. I know we did and I know it wasn't pleasant. Please don't make me ever go back there again. In fact, I'd really like to phase Outlook out of the picture. SHHHhhh! Don't tell him. I think he might have heart palpitations.

I have been considering how computers, smart phones and social media have changed the way I communicate with people. It makes it so much easier to stay connected with those of you I care about who are all over the country. It has also fragmented the way we communicate in crazy ways. When I had sinus surgery my sister was shocked that I hadn't told her. In my mind I had. I posted it on FB. One step, easy. Now I don't need to call everyone who might be concerned and tell them I was having surgery, except for my in-laws, which is frustrating. I don't want to have to take the time to call people and tell them these things. I just want to post it and be done with it. But my sister had decided her FB addiction hadn't gotten out of control, so she had quit cold turkey, so I should have called her too, but I forgot.

Any given day, I might start a conversation on FB, pick it up with someone via text message and finish it with a phone call. Or maybe it starts in Words With Friends and bleeds over to email and then gets followed up by a text. I expect that when I sit down with my friends that they have all the backstory because they've been reading my FB posts. I mean, I don't really want to have to start from the beginning do I?

Of course, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. Instead of heart felt words on the page Blackstone's chosen form of communication with me is voice recognition. I hate voice recognition. I'm sure one day I'll love it, but right now, I hate it because I get messages like this:

O n konriko lied and told they can be on the swim team.

Followed By:

Okay let's try again. Y m c a a called and said to sign connor and cool up for the swim team. Cool we shouldn't be an otter pup and connor will be otter youth.

I get messages from him like this all the time and have to text back:

Who the hell is Karla?

That would be our older son.

Voice recognition is not making my life easier. I now need to solve a puzzle every time I read one of Blackstone's texts. Someone really needs to get on that.


50 Shades of Oh My!

I love it when there's hype over a new book, especially if it's not just a book but a series. I love to read and while I certainly have a core group of friends that love to read, it's refreshing to see even the non-readers caught up in the book hype.

I especially enjoyed the Hunger Games because it was the first series that I loved that I could share with one of my kids. They're really kind of young for Twilight and they're boys. Trouble did enjoy Harry Potter, but more the movies than the books. So naturally when I heard all the hype about 50 Shades of Grey, I jumped on the band wagon.

But I have to admit, I don't get it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like the series, but lets be honest here, it's little more than porn. I read trash all the time, so this is right up my alley. And I like my trash not to parade as some romance novel. What I don't understand is how it seems to be taking the book club world by storm. I've read penthouse letters that were equivalent to a chapter in one of these novels.

I've read the first two books and I'm sure I'll tear my way through the third one in the next week. I'm also sure there are husbands and boyfriends all over the U.S. that are loving this book without even realizing it, well the side effects of it anyway. Really, I think women should add more smut to the their book repertoire on a regular basis. We spend so much time at our careers, raising our kids, taking care of the house, sex can become the last thing on our minds, which doesn't tend to do much for the libido. Men can get turned on at the drop of a hat, but with sex being a more mental activity for women, I think putting our heads in the game a little more often is way more beneficial than some women realize.

I talked with Curls about it some (even though we're not supposed to talk about the books ahead of time, but we didn't really discuss the book, more the phenomenon surrounding the books) and she suggests that it's the Kindles and the Nooks that are firing the craze. Women can read these books without the shame of having the title and cover of a smut book revealed for all to see. And I suppose she's right and it has something to do with the timing and so many electronic devices. But with that logic, women could also be reading Penthouse Forum regularly under the secrecy of their electronic reader and I haven't seen anyone posting about that on FB.

I think you also have to be careful about that idea of the e-reader keeping your reading private. It may be to the casual observer, but there's also never been a more complete record of your reading proclivities. We also can fail to anticipate how this could come cropping up to surprise us at times.

I recently purchased my two boys Kindle Fires for their birthdays. I had mixed feelings about it and considered a number of options, but it's really the best tablet for the money on the market. Now what I really wish Amazon would do is allow you to create child accounts under your own. Maybe they'll get there at some point, but right now you either need to tie your kid's Kindle to your account or setup their own Amazon account which is going to need to have a credit card tied to it. I had planned that I would setup accounts for my kids and knew I'd want a pre-paid credit card tied to their accounts. I already have email addresses setup for them, even though they don't know how to use them yet. The step that I missed, which I knew but just forgot about when I ordered them, is that I should have specified not to have them come tied to my account.

Why is this such an issue?

Because they had access to all my books. ALL my books.

Maybe you're comfortable giving your kids access to all your reading material, but I'm not. If you have 50 Shades of Grey on there, you may want to reconsider your answer.

It was quick and easy to fix and now their Kindles are setup with their own accounts. The stinky flip side to this is that I have a prime account and I wish they could access the free videos that I never watch, but they can't because they are on their own accounts. I had to make a choice: free videos or potentially scar them for life and provide them with a way too early and vivid an introduction to sex via mom's smutty reading material. All they really want to do is play games anyway.