My (sort of) brand-new iPhone 8!

He MAY text

apple iphone 8 blackFor the longest time, I wasn’t really all that fond of cellphones. Part of it was an aversion to being available all of the time. Is this a societally GOOD thing?

And now that almost everyone has a camera, they all feel the need to share the most mundane content. I will acknowledge that it is has been important in pointing out abuse and injustice. But it has so distorted what news is. Is a cat falling, but caught by people holding a flag, newsworthy? It is as if there’s an amateur video. Otherwise, it doesn’t exist, or so I’m told.

Still, the real issue apparently is that I have managed to acquire a series of duds for Android cellphones. They were unreliable. My most recent one would drain the battery by 5% from the time I turned it on until it was fully functional. And then it would continue to lose power so rapidly that it’d be pointless to leave it on. It was passive/aggressive behavior on my part towards the phone that I’d misplace it so often.

Then months ago, I bought an iPhone 8. It wasn’t the latest and greatest, but it had to be miles better, didn’t it? And it was reasonably priced, so if it didn’t work out, the investment wouldn’t have been too bad.

I started the process of setting it up, but I was interrupted and didn’t get back to it for a couple of weeks, by which time I couldn’t remember my two-step authorization number. Or something. Anyway, I just gave up on it for a few months.

Help!

Finally, I went to the Apple store in the mall – I hate the mall – and they reset it to the original mode. I was able to set up a better authorization process. And it was all good.

Well, except that I didn’t have a SIM card. My previous phone always said No SIM card, yet worked; not so on this phone. So I waited for the new card to arrive. I called my carrier to get my service switched to the new device.

I couldn’t get the card on this little tray, and my carrier’s customer service guy couldn’t talk me through it. So I went BACK to the Apple Store, and five minutes later, voila.

This means that now, probably, I’ll text! You can send photos to me by phone instead of emailing because that’s been so onerous for some people. I’ll add apps, which I was shedding on the old phone – and I didn’t have that many – because it didn’t have enough memory.

But I’ll still use my watch to tell time because pulling out my phone while riding my bicycle doesn’t seem like a good idea. 

My fear now, of course, is that I’ll become so enamored of my new phone – it’s at least like at first sight – it’ll be disappointing if I break/lose it. 

Mostly unrelated: Arthur is doing something, and I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Blogging easier or harder in retirement?

eight hours on the front porch

Arthur – you know Arthur – asked:

Now that you’ve had a bit of time to adjust, do you find blogging easier or harder to do now that you’re retired? Anything else stand out as being harder or easier to do now?

It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, actually. The summers have always been tricky because one doesn’t want to be shut off in the office while the family is around.

Fall 2019: it was quite productive, actually. Time to do those pieces that might take a little longer.

March 2020: At the beginning of the pandemic, my wife was teaching school from the dining table. This was really awkward; if I wanted to do anything downstairs, such as washing dishes in the kitchen, or watching TV in the living room, I felt that I was intruding on her classroom. Meanwhile, my daughter was sequestered in her bedroom. So I pretty much HAD to be in the office or the bedroom. This was advantageous for blogging.

When I petitioned for her to use the spare bedroom for her teaching, she initially resisted. But she soon found its advantages, not just teaching but for ZOOM church meetings, and the like. The daughter then would go downstairs and listen to her classes on the living room sofa. Again, I retreat to the office, which was good for blogging.

Blogging on the road is easier when I’m alone, virtually impossible when I’m with others. Back in the day, I’d go down to the “business center” and use one of the public machines. But now, I’m not able to remember to gather up all the things I need (clothes, room key) before leaving in the dark. Typing in the bathroom is not only suboptimal to me, but audible to the others.

Quit the blog?

But, and this might be an age thing, but I really can’t blog at night anymore. The best time on weekdays is from when I get up until my daughter leaves for school, with certain regular interruptions. They would be making sure my daughter’s up, watching 90 seconds of news at 7 a.m., saying goodbye to my wife, feeding the cats, and not hovering (as she puts it) when my daughter leaves.

And when I was having major problems with the technology of the blog, when it was down for 28 hours, and when it was assaulted by malware, it was really difficult. I dithered between quitting blogging and going back to my arcane Blogger blog that I used for the first five years. Unlike you, I never had a technological mentor.

The melancholy means it’s been much harder recently to blog. And NOT blogging makes me MORE melancholy. So my pieces in the queue have shrunk to about three dozen when six months ago, it was about five dozen. Given many are evergreen pieces I’ll only use if I’m desperate, or dead, I’m not all that far ahead.

Time is on my side. Yes, it is.

On non-blogging issues, I’ve found I have the capacity to actually access my bank, the credit union of my wife and me, and my primary credit card, all online. I check them all about twice a week, move money from our savings to checking on the joint account, and pay off the credit card each month. It wasn’t difficult, it just required time.

I know I say this a lot, but it’s no less true for that. I’m too busy to work. No way I do the ZOOM event for the library, for which I got an award if I’m employed.

Of course, this means that some people think I’m readily available. Not really. I did spend eight hours sitting on the front porch with my oldest friend from college. But I had to find a day I wasn’t working on something or going to the doctor or doing the shopping I promised to do, or…

Hypnotized at the county fair

The event was so surreal that I probably DIDN’T talk about it.

hypnotismHere’s a story I didn’t tell you, about being hypnotized, because it didn’t convey enough. But suddenly, it does.

In August of 2015, The Wife, The Daughter, The Daughter’s good friend and I went to the Altamont Fair, which is the joint fair of Albany and Schenectady Counties in upstate New York. I don’t go every year – my family went without me in 2016 – but it’s enjoyable enough.

At one of the stages, a hypnotist was looking for subjects to come on stage. The Daughter nagged and pleaded with me to participate, and I ended up being the last of eight or ten people to volunteer.

He put us “under”, saying whatever he said. I’m aware that I’m on the stage, but follow his commands to:
slur my words
make my most romantic face (Head tilted, doe eyes, pursed lips, I’m told)
play an instrument (electric bass I was surprised he knew I was playing the bass rather than a guitar)
drive fast around curves

Later, The Wife said that he dismissed a couple of people that he was unable to hypnotize. She thought I was just acting, faking, but I was not.

About my story Baptized Again, about me speaking in tongues, Uthaclena asked, and Arthur agreed:

How do YOU interpret your experience of glossolalia?

That is the thing: I didn’t interpret it. No one slipped something in my drink. The event was so surreal that I probably DIDN’T talk about it, not out of embarrassment, but because I guess I wanted it to have more of an impact. But no, a week or two later, I was busy leading my debauched life.

Maybe it was God’s sense of humor; if there’s an afterlife, that’ll be one of the things I’ll have to ask Her. “What the heck WAS that?” And “How did one of my glasses lens shatter when I was a kid, while I was wearing them?” Hey, THAT’S what I should ask youse guys: “If there’s an afterlife, what earthly experience would you want to be explained?”

Then Chris asked:

Was it like a trance state?

I then realized that my speaking in tongues was very much like “a state of consciousness in which a person apparently loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction,” which is the textbook definition of being hypnotized. And I must be susceptible to it.