Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hello Again

As you could probably tell last weekend, I finally got my laptop back.  All fixed so no excuse to buy a new MacBook Pro.  Although who knows, sometimes I buy things I don’t need.  Like when I bought my iPad last July.

Whenever people ask me if I like my iPad I always say that “I love it, but I still can’t figure out why I NEED it.”   After spending two weeks at home with just the iPad I still don’t think I need it more than I need a laptop. But it did come in handy.  It would have been harder to keep up with online life with just my iPhone.  Maybe I’ll write an entire post about the iPad now that I’ve had it more than 6 months.

It turned out that it was easy to fix my little HP laptop, but it took longer than expected because every time they would order the new RAM I needed it would come in for a desktop and not a laptop.  Finally they went to a different supplier.  The guys at Clayton Computers on Big Bend were great though, and I recommend them.  I always knew my laptop ran hot (apparently all HP computers run hot).  What happened was that all the soldering around the RAM drive (is that what you call it?) melted.  Yes, MELTED.  Pretty scary huh?  

So eventually they called me and told me that if I wanted to pick it up with  lesser RAM and use it until they got in the correct additional RAM, I could.  I took them up on that offer, since it had been a couple of weeks (partly my fault because it took me six days to get around to taking it in).   Boy was I glad I picked it up when I did because three days later we had a Big Storm with Straight Line Winds and it hit the block where my laptop would have been sitting on the shelf waiting for final repair.  It would have taken another week to get it.  It was a mess there.

The telephone and power line poles snapped off at the top and streets had to be blocked off.  When I stopped by yesterday to have the new RAM popped in, I pulled around to the back of the building and my mouth dropped open.  The apartment buildings behind looked like the roofs had just been ripped off.  Trees had been knocked down and back porches were destroyed from where the roof had come down.   Mother Nature can be scary. 

Anyway, my little laptop is safe and sound and worked fine for blogging this week.  But after more than 2 weeks using my iPad exclusively I decided that I should take some time to reorganize my online life.  The iPad works a bit slower than a laptop and I began to notice things I didn’t notice on my laptop.  I noticed that I have a lot of RSS feeds that I don’t read at once and I mark as read fully intending to go back and read later but I never actually do.  On the laptop, skipping over things is quick.  On the iPad, every refresh takes a bit of time (like on an iPhone). 

When I woke up this morning and saw that it was a gray, gloomy day I decided it was a good day to organize.  So while I was doing laundry (don’t you love laundry?  You can do a major chore through which most of the time you are doing nothing) I went through and reorganized all my RSS feeds.  I moved most of the book blog feeds out of RSS and back into a separate Book Blog Roll here at the blog.  I think I’ll be more likely to read them at leisure that way.   My books folder in Google Reader was getting unwieldy so this should help.  Sometimes my heart would sink when I’d check my Reader and find 45 book posts ALONE unread.   So now my Reader only has professional book review sites like the NYTimes and the LATimes etc.  They get clogged on weekends but that’s ok – I have time to read them on weekends. 

I also added a link to Readers and Book Lovers at DailyKos (the Great Orange Satan – if you are conservative you will not want to click that link).   Markos recently upgraded the entire site and now users have the ability to create separate Groups for non-political topics. For the last two years almost my entire participation there was in the book diaries so I was happy to see a Readers and Book Lovers Group.  It has people who write for the Group and also republishes book/reading/writing related diaries that other people at the site write.  The nice thing is that you can ignore everything but the Groups you follow if you want to.   And as I’ve found over the last two years, the people who inhabit the book threads are very nice.    So click the link and check it out if you are so inclined.  For those of you who are dKos members, click the little heart next to the word “follow” and all the diaries from that Group will show up in your “stream” (another new dKos concept which is the best thing they’ve done in years). 

On my own reading front, things have been a bit sparce.  I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction this year and while I enjoy it I don’t necessarily want to write about it.   And a lot of it is history that is connected to the genealogy work I’m interested in.   I did read Laurence Cosse’s A Novel Bookstore last week and didn’t much like it.  I didn’t buy the premise and the writing seemed stilted which may have been the fault of the translator.  But there was far too much telling and not enough showing for my taste.  I also picked up The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson, which won this year’s Booker Prize, but so far I haven’t started it.   I’m still working on Stephen Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat, which I’ve been slowly reading since Christmas.  I’m almost finished but I like to savor it.  And I have Patti Smith’s memoir sitting there too, unstarted.   And I got stalled on Alan Taylor’s Divided Ground because I was so angry at how the Indians were treated that I decided to take a break.  But I keep thinking about it so I’ll probably get back to it this week.

On the TV front, I’m still watching Castle on Monday Nights.  I catch up with Glee on Hulu when I can.  I like that Friday night series Who do you Think You Are although I have to laugh at how easy they make genealogy seem.   I have to catch up on a few weeks of Bones and Fringe.   But that’s it.  

I feel like I just finished writing a Holiday Letter that only goes out once a year.  But it feels a very long time since I’ve been here.  Hopefully that will change.