The Hunt

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The soft, blue sky and sounds of chipping birds didn’t soften the concerned look on the man’s face as he peered out the window.

“They’re out there, son.”  He warned.  “They came during the night.  Pods hidden amongst the landscape.  They’re  hidden, but I know they’re  there.  I can smell them.”

His words were confirmed with tightening eyelids and a terse nod.

“It’s not like last time.”  He continued.  “Last time easy to spot.  They were bigger and ugly.  Everyone knew they were dangerous.  This time, though; this time they were smart.  The pods are small, so they’re easy to hide.  They’re brightly colored, too.  It makes them easier to find, but also lulls its victims into a sense of false security.  There’s got to be hundreds of them out there.”

The soldier steps back and racks his rifle.  “Clack-clack!”

“Don’t worry, Dad.  I got this” He says with confidence.

A brightly colored basket is lowered in between them.

“Why don’t you collect them instead of shooting them.”  The mother says to her son.”

“Aw, Mom!”  The boy protests as she disarms the young soldier.

“No, no.  She’s right!”  The father chimes.  “Gunfire will alert them to your presence.  You need to stalk them, special ops style, and bring them back to the home base for study and interrogation.  They’ll crack under the pressure!”

Mom rolls her eyes as the child bolts out the door.

I lost my heart in San Francisco, but I lost my dumb phone in Georgia.

Say hello to my little friend.  It’s a Kyocera something or other.

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It replaces the dumb phone I used to have.  You know, the one I raved about in an earlier post.  I guess it didn’t like being called dumb because it decided to leave me somewhere in Georgia.

I was driving back to Florida in that ethereal timeline between late night and early morning when I made a stop for a bite to eat.  That when my phone decided to ditch me and try to hitch a ride somewhere else.

Fifteen dollars down the drain.

I’m not too concerned about it.  There were few phone numbers on it and it was set up for talk only.  I had a pay as you go plan, so they couldn’t rack up long distance calls on it, nor could they even text on the thing!  All in all, it was a pretty safe phone.

My new phone had the same account and phone number, so the old phone is now totally off-line.  I have no concerns about it if it is ever found.

In according to tradition, this phone started out pretty cheap.  Thirty bucks.  I chose it so I could take pictures and download podcasts.  The wife had other ideas.  She insisted on a cover and protective screen film.  I opted for the one year replacement plan.  (It was $5 and who knows what’s going to happen to this thing in a year.)

So far I’ve downloaded a few free apps and love watching you tube on it.

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I’ve found it takes ok but not great pictures.

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What I haven’t figured out is how to post these directly onto my blog using WordPress.  (Any help here would be immensely appreciated.)  Right now I download them to my lap top and then go from there.

And as a bow to modern culture I bring to you my phone’s first “Selfy”.

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Personally I don’t get it.  Why would anyone want a picture of someone else’s phone is beyond me.

Confessions: Why I have a dumb phone

Many of you know that I don’t have a smart phone.  In fact, some of you have even asked why.  It is hard to understand why a blogger would limit themselves by not having one.  I have missed out on some great pictures and having the ability to post on facebook wall at a moment’s notice would be a nice feature.  (If you haven’t seen it, stop by.  I post links to other blogs and fun pictures on it.)

You’d almost think I’m anti-technology.  That’s furthest from the truth.  I like cool old things, but I love gizmos just as much.

I even had an I-pod.  Once.  I really enjoyed it.  I’d scan around for free wifi to download podcasts or web surf. I added a bunch of apps.  All in all, I spent over $50 on shows, games, and other things for that pod.  I took that thing everywhere.

Then I accidentally killed it.

I was working by the pool and “BLOOP” down it went.  I was kinda luck as it landed in the ledge section of the pool, but it still was in enough water to bring the dreaded “White screen of death.”

I nursed it for two weeks and somehow got it to work.  Kinda.  It had become more susceptible to the high humidity and rain of summer Florida, but I could still listen to podcasts and watch “Tremors”.

And then one day it crashed onto the road.   “Crack!”  I was trying to slip it into my shirt pocket, but the pocket wasn’t open enough.

So much for that.

Picking up the dead metal carcass, I decided to go a little cheaper in replacing it.

I bought a Sansa Fuze.

No wifi, but I still got my podcasts and could download movies and shows.  I had that for about six months until it died… in the pool.

Ok.  Not the pool itself, but the filter tank.  It was my job to clean that thing out every week.  The filters used fossils called Diatomatious Earth.  It feels like soft sand, but is microscopically sharp.  The large cut version is sold as earth friendly insecticide at garden centers.  The stuff cuts the legs of insects as they walk through it.  A slurry of this stuff oozed its way into that Sansa and Fuzed itself into the electronics.

Dead.

I now have some MP3 player called a Trio.  It cost me $30.  I haven’t killed it so far, but I don’t do the pool anymore.  It is slowly dying though.  The screen gets these weird “snow” line through it when I have it connected to the computer and half the time the computer can read the player through the USB cable.  But it still works.

I think I’m on my third phone too.  In fact, it has to be.  I remember changing carriers.  The phones do seem to last longer.  The one I have now was bought roughly after the first time I tried to kill the I Pod.  It’s a cheap $15 phone that I don’t worry about.  If it goes, I just get another.

And that’s the crux.  I have no qualms about dropping $15 on a new phone if something happens, but $100 to $300 for a smart phone that might not last the year?  That’s hard to swallow.

I know that there are protective cases for the things, like the otter case, but that’s another $100!  Plus I just know how I would be if I had that thing on my smart phone, “What I forgot the hammer to stake this tree up?  Here, use my phone.  No, it’s ok.  The case is shock proof.” Or “Let’s play air hockey.  We’ll use my phone as the puck.  It’s alright.  It’s got that otter cover on it.”

How could I possibly inflict such horror to an innocent little smart phone.  It’s better if they didn’t know.

And that’s why I have a dumb phone.

A missed opportunity

Yellow eye stared at me; slowly sizing me up as I looked back.  I stood still and stared back in disbelief.  The bobcat was right in front me!  I had been busy hand pruning the inside of a hedge when I saw his legs go by from the other side.  I figured he’d see my UTV and walk around it.  Never did I expect him to walk in between it and open gate I was in.

It was the boy-cat, too.  I had seen him a few weeks ago walking side by side with his mother.  He was smaller and young.  While he had a nice coat, there were no spots on it yet.  Looking at him, I could tell he was roughly the height of my four year old Yellow Lab and weighed about 50 to 60 pounds.  He was lean.  He ate well, but the wild rabbits at work have no fat and this cat was all muscle.

He was also very used to people.  A resident said that the bobcat had brushed up against him early in the morning one day;  Just like a house cat.  That resident now checks his surroundings very carefully now before heading towards his golf cart.

Almost lazily the cat turns his head and strolls away.  It took me a few seconds longer to react.

“Here kitty, kitty.”  I called walking after it.  “Here kitty.”  (I blame The Nomad Grad for this.  If she can stare down full grown lions, I should be able to pet a bobcat that rubs up on people.)

The cat thinks I’m a little nuts and walks a little faster.

I stop, disappointed.  Then realization kicks in.  I was in a fenced enclosure with a five foot wide hedge covering three sides, a wall blocking off any real opening on the “open” side, and a mini canal connecting the wall like an “L”.  I had no where to go and the cat was blocking the only exit.  He is faster and can jump higher with much less effort.  Not a good spot to be.

I watch as the cat walks down the street along the wall until he finds the opening in the woods to cross over to the other residential park.  Then, loud noises from landscaping machinery on that side brings him back.

I see him walking towards me hugging the trees that are planted near the wall. Clearer minded this time, I walk out of my enclosure and put the UTV/Mule between us.  The cat turns into the trees ahead of me and disappears.

I lost him.  I didn’t see if he kept moving or if he decided to just lay down.  Is he behind the trees next to the wall?  Did he crawl under the little bit of chain-link fence that connects the wall to the mini canal? I don’t know.  All I know is that I have to get back to work.

I sneak up the small embankment and peer in between the tree line and the wall.  Nothing.  Maybe he left or decided to walk towards the woods instead.  (Across the street and down the road roughly a block away.) I never found out.  I took a moment and started back trimming.

My only regret is that I don’t have a camera on my cell phone.

That would’ve been one hell of a picture.

Bitcoin to the rescue!

Breaking news!  President Obama has announced today that not only will he balance the budget this year, but completely pay off the entire debt of the nation this year!

Heading up this historic project will be none other than Timothy Geithner, head of the Treasury Department.  Here is an excerpt from his speech to the media.

 

   “Ladies and Gentleman, a historic opportunity is upon us.  We now have the ability to not only balance the budget, but also pay off the national debt.  This bold project has been overwhelmingly approved by both sides of the Senate and House of Representatives.  There will be no cutting of projects, nor will there be raising of taxes.  In fact, this new program will spur our economy to new heights and create a new sector in the workforce.

            It is called, ‘The Bitcoin Project’.

 

            The Bitcoin Project or TBP utilizes the untapped potential of this digital currency in a way never before dreamed of.  Through TBP we will pay off our debt by ‘Mining’ for Bitcoins and selling them throughout the world for hard currency.  This hard currency will then in turn, be used to first balance the current budget and then soon after, wipe out the debt of the nation. 

 

            TBP will also erase the nation’s unemployment.  No longer will we be at the mercy of business to create jobs for our people.  Now everyone who is unemployed and able will be employed by the government as a miner for the TBP.  OSHA is now looking into the safety regulations needed in such a project to protect the worker’s long term exposure to punching keys and staring into a screen.  Special safety glasses and wrist braces might be needed.

            But TBP will also be offered to students as a way to pay off their student loans.  For every 10,000 coins farmed, 10% will go directly against their student loans before they come to term.  This procedure applies to the principle of the loan before any interest has occurred.

            So with our eyes on the future and our hands upon the keyboard. The Bitcoin Project will be known as our finest economic hour.

            God Bless America.”  

A little story for Easter

Easter is a wonderful holiday signifying renewal, rebirth, and is looked at the unofficial beginning of spring.

Besides the strong Christian heritage of the holiday, the nonreligious aspects of this holiday on our culture are stronger than most realize.

In the spirit of secular Easter, I give to you this true story.  The names have been changed to protect those involved.

A young man was busily working at an elderly ladies house in preparedness for the holiday.  He had trimmed the shrubs, thinned the trees, and pulled most of the weeds when he came to a rather thick clump under a small palm tree.  Seeing how thick the area was, the young man grabbed his weed trimmer.

“Could you check that before trimming it?” The elderly lady asked.  “I wouldn’t want you to hurt any baby rabbits.”

Nodding, the young man set down his trimmer.  Kneeling before the tree, he sifted the weeds through his fingers.

Satisfied with his search, he looked up and said, “It’s ok.  I don’t see any bunny eggs.”

Happy Easter.

Bunny eggs

Intermission and Wars of Wordcraft.

I’ve been enjoying writing Ghost Story, but Karen Cherry at Random, untrue has a contest going on that was so interesting, I had to enter it.  It’s called, “Wars of Wordcraft“.

The contest is simple:  Coin a new word.or use an existing one in a new way.

Define it and use it in a sentence.  The winner get’s a $10 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The card is fine, but I prefer the thought of being the guy who originates a new word that takes over the language lexicon.  (I mean, if “Bromance” can make it, why not my word?)

So without further adieu, here is my contribution.

Empurgament:  Blend of employment and purgatory.  To be stuck in an unwanted or unenjoyable job for an indefinite amount of time.

“The graduate labored at his empurgament while dreaming of a better economy.”