Growing up Tech

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a geek.  Totally.  I’m a geek about a lot of things – I love Harry Potter, Glee, many of the current fandoms.  I adore musical theatre, movie musicals, etc.  I’m a total bookworm, and will not think twice about standing in line at a bookstore for a midnight release, or getting to the theater 4 hours before a movie to wait in line to get a seat in the back.

All these things make me a geek, or a nerd I guess, but the biggest thing is my obsession with all things tech.  The world is exploding with all the latest releases of gadgets of all kind.  My son is four.  When I was his age, I was carrying around my old fashioned tape recorder, so happy because there were buttons to push.

Good old tape recorder

I got my first cell phone late by today’s standards, at 18 when I started university.  I’ve counted (the ones I can remember) the cell phones I’ve had since then and there have been 13 in the last 17 years.  That’s an average of a new one every 1.3 years.  Not a lot by a lot of techie standards, but far higher than average, I’m sure.  I’m totally addicted.  I got my first computer, which was a 486 running DOS and Windows 3.1, when I was probably about 14.


I’m an admitted Apple fangirl.  If Apple makes it, I want one.  I’m already plotting to “unload” my iPhone 4S on my hubby when the next generation comes out.  I remember wanting a tablet computer so bad years ago when they had those big, bulky Tablet PC’s that were so expensive.  When the iPad came out, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven.

I drive my co-worker crazy listening to podcasts about various things, keynote speeches, videos of drop tests of cell phones.  I get excited and call her over when I see nifty things online that I think are so cool, and she just rolls her eyes at me.  I’m a huge fan of social networking, having accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and on and on.  I’m the only one of my friends that stops to “check in” when we go somewhere, the only one that checks Twitter when someone mentions the latest news.  Or knows the news first because of my Twitter feed.  Heck, I was the only one who actually would send a text for a long time.  Unfortunately I had no one to send them to.

It kind of sucks actually, being one of the only geeks among my friends.  Every now and then I meet folks who are on the same page and it is so wonderful to sit and talk about the latest in the tech world, or what I happened to read on a tech blog that morning.  To discuss our favourite apps and compare Angry Birds scores.  These opportunities are very few and far between.  My hubby and most friends will try to nod and smile and act interested when I talk about how the new Macbook Pro has retina display, or how excited I am to try iOS 6.  But I see the bored blankness behind their eyes.  That’s why I love social networking, the number of people on Twitter alone to chat with about all things tech is more than you could possibly imagine.

The way I see it, unless I make some new friends 😉 , my last hope is my son.  He is growing up in a world where the things that I witnessed happening as I was growing up (personal computers in every home, personal e-mail addresses for everyone, real touchscreen technology, cell phones replacing landlines) are all firmly a part of life.  If we’ve come this far in the last 30 years, imagine how much can happen in the next 30.

Loves the iPad

Technology is the future.  Obviously.  There are so many things we can do now, that we could never do before.  I use my iPad for everything.  Web surfing, e-mail, blogging, journaling, contact management, calendar and to do lists, reading books, magazines, watching a missed episode of a favourite TV show or listening to a favourite song.  I store recipes on it, edit documents, play games, all social networking, manage my household budget, banking, edit photos, Skype, etc.  With just one piece of equipment, I have made a ton of other things totally unnecessary….and I can carry it in my handbag.  I find this incredibly cool.  On this, my son can relate.  He loves the iPad, and would be on it all the time if I let him.  He watches Netflix, searches YouTube, reads books, does puzzles.  My parents watch him as he says “here Grandma, I’ll do it for you” with wonder on their faces.  I watch him on the iPad, or on my phone, or on a computer, and I see that the apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree.  I’m excited for all the future has to hold for him and generations to come and all the things that will be made possible because of technology.

Geeks unite!

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Easy – But Yummy – Pasta Salad

When I start making this pasta salad, I know that summer has arrived.  Everyone has their own variation, this is mine.

Summer in a bowl

Ingredients

1 bag – pasta of choice. Hardier pastas work best.  I’ve used Rotini, Fusilli, Farfale (bowtie), and Scoobi-Do is a favourite.  It’s a nice change from  the traditional elbow.

1 jar – Miracle Whip

2 cans – flakes of ham – some people like tuna, I prefer the taste and saltiness of ham

4 eggs – hard boiled

mustard – a healthy squirt

dried dill – a healthy shake

curry powder – to taste

salt and pepper – to taste

Directions

Cook the pasta in salted water to al dente.  Strain and run under cold water until completely cooled.

In a large bowl, break up flakes of ham and cut up hard boiled eggs.  Leave both in fairly large chunks as they will break down more when you stir it all together.

Dump the pasta on top, and add Miracle Whip and combine, to get desired creaminess.  Add mustard, dill and curry, along with salt and pepper, all to taste, testing along the way of course! 😉

That’s it.  It’s best served chilled, though if you plan on storing it in the fridge for a while, the pasta will absorb the dressing, so before serving add a bit more and give it a stir.

I prefer mine very simple, but there are literally hundreds of things you could add to this salad – bell peppers, green onions, spanish onion.  You could add fresh peas if you had some from the garden or market.  That’s what’s nice about it, add what you like to make it your own and suit your tastes.

Serve with a burger or hot dog or whatever summer treat you’ve got off the grill, and enjoy!

Bomb Threats Close to Home

Ambassador Bridge – Windsor/Detroit

I consider myself lucky to be born where I was born, with the luxuries that I have. Clean drinking water right out of my tap, a roof over my head, food on my table. I watch the news and see people that live in war zones, like Iraq and Afghanistan, and know people in the military that have fought in both places during the height of the war there.

I feel for these people, I fear for them, I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to live under a constant veil of fear. That’s what I’m talking about, because as much as I sympathize, I can’t empathize. I’ve lived my life up to this point with virtually no fear of an outside attack. The most scared I’ve ever been was on September 11, 2001, when I heard on the radio that a second plane had struck the World Trade Center. The first one I could assume was a tragic accident. The second one showed for sure that there was something sinister happening. The news of a crash at the Pentagon made my stomach roll over in fear.

I felt this way, and yet I was so removed from the situation. Miles away, no one I knew personally affected directly by these tragic events. I sat and watched, horrified, with the rest of the world, but though this was the first time that I ever wondered how events like these would change my life as I knew it, I was still just a spectator.

In less than a week, there have been two bomb threats on border crossings between the cities of Windsor and Detroit. The first one was at the Tunnel that runs under water connecting the two cities and countries. The second one at the Ambassador Bridge that spans the Detroit River, linking the two as well. Both incidents shut down the crossings for a number of hours. Thankfully, neither amounted to anything more than a huge inconvenience for travelers, and probably tons of cash and man hours investigating the threats.

This one hit close to home though. Windsor is right down the 401 from us – I can get there by car in just over 2 hours. We have friends in Windsor. Family in Windsor and Detroit. Even though it appears that there was no danger after all, it sure made me think about it and realize, just as those people in New York and Virginia who went to work on 9/11 totally unsuspecting and never thinking that anything could happen to them, anything is possible.

It makes you wonder what this world is coming to. But also, it makes you think about people that live under a constant threat all the time. Who go to bed at night knowing full well that it is a real possibility that a bomb could fall on their house. Or could go shopping to have a suicide bomber blow up 5 feet from them. Those people don’t wonder what the world is coming to, because it has always been their reality.

We all have hardships and tough times. We all deal with them differently. Everyone has blessings too. We, when compared to the rest of the planet are like individual grains of sand. As this world gets smaller and smaller and threats seem to happen closer to home, it helps to put things into perspective and if not totally, at least a little bit – helps us to understand what it might be like to live in their shoes.

Peace.

Awesome Mom Commercial

I’m super excited for the Olympics this year, and have seen this awesome commercial or a variation of it several times lately.  I thought I would post this full length version for all the Moms out there, or anyone who has a Mom they love that has been there to support them.  This brought tears to my eyes the first time I watched it.

Enjoy. 🙂

I Guess You Can’t Make Everyone Happy

Sad, but true.

Overall, I aim to please.  I am definitely a “yes person.”  To a fault usually.  People are always telling me – “you have to learn to say no!”  I’m not very good at it though.

So it’s hard when people criticize you when you’re always trying so hard to help them, and to be the best person you can be.  It’s easy to get your feelings hurt when you’ve tried so hard, and done so much, only to have someone look past all of that to what you DIDN’T do, and point that out.  It really takes the wind out of your sails and can be very discouraging.

What we need to realize I think is that some people are born criticizers.  Some are born complainers.  Some are born with a negative attitude and will die that way.  And some, unfortunately for us, are all of the above.

So the question is – why in the hell do we keep trying to please these people?  What’s wrong with being who you are, doing the best you can do?  Those who love you and appreciate you will continue to love and appreciate you.  Those who don’t, can lump it.

So going into the weekend, have a good one, have fun, and be the best you can be.  Not for all those Bitter Bettys and Negative Nancys, be your best – for you, and those that are worth the effort.

Peace.

Letting Go

The quote on the left is something I saw on Facebook yesterday, and it has stuck with me since.

I am fortunate enough to have many friends.  Quite a few of them I have known for years and years.  My oldest and dearest friend and I have been sidekicks since we were 5 years old.  That’s almost 30 years!  Many of my friends that I still keep in touch with I met in high school.  I also have friends that Joe and I have met as a couple and enjoy hanging out with.  I never really made friends at work as I was the only female my age in the office for many many years, but in the last few years I have been lucky enough to form a friendship with a co-worker that I really cherish, which has made the day to day of my life much more interesting and fun.

I can honestly say that I haven’t lost a lot of friends.  Sometimes people just grow apart, and that’s okay.  Life takes people in different directions, and just because you aren’t really good friends anymore doesn’t mean you don’t care about someone or love them just the same.  But deep down it bothers me when there is someone that is in your life, and then they are gone.  Someone whose friendship you valued, and then they are non-existent.

This can also apply to relationships.  I’m happily married for almost 10 years now, and haven’t had to deal with other relationships for a very long time, but there have been times in my life when things went sour and I spent way too long trying to figure out why.  Trying to figure out what it was that I did that made things go wrong.

When you’re in the mindframe that accompanies a lost relationship, whether it is a friendship or a mate, you don’t always want to hear the advice that tells you to move on, to leave them behind, and to let go.  But something really resonated with me yesterday when I read that caption, and really made things click into place in a lot of ways.  From as far back as my teenage years, all the unsolved mysteries of my life, and the lost friendships and relationships (not that there were many), seemed okay all of a sudden.  Reading that and putting things into perspective that way, helped me I guess to close the book on a few loose ends that perhaps were never meant to be tied up.

I like to believe that everything happens for a reason.  That God has a plan for all of us.  But this has made me think that sometimes He does reach in and take people and things away from us because we aren’t strong enough to do it ourselves.  As human beings we tend to be gluttons for punishment and chase after the things that hurt us the most.  So the decision is made for us, yet we still do what we can to try to reverse it.  To make things better, to set things right.

What we need to realize is – perhaps things have been set right.  We just need to leave it alone and let go.

Divergent – Book Review

I had seen Divergent by Veronica Roth in Chapters many times.  I knew it was a pretty popular book for young adults, and a friend had recommended it to me.  In Chapters it always was in the featured sections, often having a display of its own.  So when Chapters had their buy 3 get the 4th free deal on, I picked it up.

I’m so glad I did.

I am a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy.  I find Dystopian Fiction quite interesting and scary in a sense, because I suppose anything is possible.  Reading Harry Potter and Twilight, there is the fantasy element there with wizards and vampires, so while you’re reading it though you are thoroughly entertained, there is always that element of disbelief.  Obviously.  I mean, Lord Voldemort is scary, yes, but he doesn’t exist. I’d hate to have to go up against the Volturi, but I know I never will.

Books like The Hunger Games, and this one – Divergent – don’t have that magical element.  There is no fantasy here.  This is all about how people have screwed the world up, and due to decisions that real people have made, other real people are controlling others and oppressing others, and brainwashing them to think that it is normal, and that they like it.  That’s what’s scary about it.  I suppose that no matter how outlandish it may seem, it really could happen.  That’s what makes it good though, and that’s what keeps you coming back for more – you’re almost desperate for a happy ending, because in a way it could be your happy ending one day.

Divergent takes place in dystopian Chicago.  It is the story of Beatrice Prior, who is about to choose her path in life.  The city is broken down into 5 factions.  Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent).  At the age of 16, all youth must take an aptitude test to tell them which faction they are most suited for.  Though most stay within their own faction, it is ultimately the decision of the youth themselves to choose one of the five.  If they choose one that is different than the one they came from, it usually means that they will be cutting off all ties from the family they are leaving behind.  They then must survive an initiation process that tests their abilities to the limit, before they are welcomed into the faction of their choice.

Our story centers around Beatrice Prior, a 16 year old from Agnegation who finds out something very interesting during her test, and then must make her choice.  She renames herself Tris, and it follows her story as she works through initiation, makes new friends and enemies, and learns surprising things about herself, and about the people around her that she thought she knew so well.  It’s interesting to read as she tries to figure out who she can trust, who is good, who is evil, and what people’s true intentions are.

I really enjoyed this book.  It’s like Hunger Games, but not.  It’s good, but different.  The sequel, Insurgent, is out, and I’m waiting for the paperback version to be released so I can scoop it up.  I’m really looking forward to reading it.  This was a very fast paced, interesting and entertaining read.  I like the character of Tris because she is definitely the heroine, but she is flawed, not incredibly beautiful, and a bit of a badass at times.  She’s believable, and strong, which is a good example to the female demographic this book is aimed to.  Much as Katniss was an independent, strong female.

Check it out for one of your summer reads.  I don’t think you’ll be sorry.