Out of Control

Anyone else feel like technology is getting out of control?

I mean, really, who actually NEEDS this much technology?

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Yep, I have three iPads. That is my desk, just a few minutes ago, at precisely 2:43 pm. The one on the right, bearing the handsome face of Christian Kane, that is my personal iPad, the iPad 4. The one on the left, with the beach photo is my old work iPad, the iPad 2. The one in the center, with the mountain and stars, is my new work iPad, the iPad Air 2. Our old work iPads were out of date and not as current as the students I am teaching, so we got the newest tech.

The new one arrived today and that is how I found myself with not one, not two, but three iPads on my desk at the same time. All mine. Oh, and I took the photo with my iPhone.

Yeppers, this tech is out of control!

Headphontastrophe

When I got my iPhone…two years ago? Three? Whatever. It came with headphones, as they always do. I generally find that I am far more productive with music playing than otherwise. I play music in the morning to get up and to get me through the shower. I play music when I cook. I play music at work when I’m doing dreary tasks. (I also, like now, play music when I’m blogging)

With music on, things flow more smoothly for me and I accomplish more. I’m also far less likely to get distracted, perhaps because I’ve already split my focus between the task and my music.

When at work, I can’t just play music all day, but I can listen to it on headphones. Typically, I only put one of the earphones in, which allows me to hear what people are saying to me and still gives me the music I crave. No one seems to mind that I do this, so I keep on doing it.

Now, I don’t know if the standard iPhone earbuds are just cheaply made or if it is because I use them so frequently, but mine are toast. TOAST. (We’ll get to that in a second). I haven’t even been using them the whole time, because I started out using the pair that came with my iPod, until those were trashed, and then I dug these out of the box and began using them. I’d say a year, give or take.

It certainly seems to me that earbuds should last longer than one year.

Just so we’re clear…

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…that is what an earbud looks like.
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This is what my right earbud currently looks like, and it no longer works. No sound will come out.
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This is the left. The covering doesn’t stay on, but if I hold it against the earbud and slip it in my ear, it lodges in place. When I remove it, the covering stays in my ear until I dig it out, but I get sound, so I work with it.

This is pretty trashed, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m not particularly hard on them, I keep them in a drawer at work, they don’t travel with me unless I am going out of town (they did go to Chicago twice last year, maybe that was it…) I just use them daily.

Okay, so aside from the fact that these are junk, there is the crystal clear fact that I have to replace them. Do you know how much a new pair goes for? The exact same ones I have are $29 at the Apple store. TWENTY-NINE DOLLARS. How ridiculous is that?

Obviously I am not paying that kind of money for them. So, I turned to my friends at Amazon. I finally found a deal for 3 pairs of knockoffs for under $4. Less than FOUR DOLLARS. That’s a bit over a buck a pair and totally worth it to me. Plus, they were on free Super Saver shipping, and I had a couple other things to buy.

Well, I put the order in back in January. When they submitted the order it said, “estimated delivery date, March 1- March 8. That seemed crazy to me. Did they need time to knock over an Apple supply truck in order to give me such a good price?

Finally, after some sleuthing I realized I bought some generic knockoffs from a sweatshop in Hong Kong. It’s a proud day. Had I known, I would have asked Mindy to pick some up next time she was there (I still might…) and saved me some time.

The long and the short of the story is, the sound has starting cutting in and out of the sole, remaining, working earbud. I’m nervous that the new ones won’t arrive and I will be music-less for a few days. I won’t be able to handle it, I might even break down.

Cross your fingers that my earbuds cling to life for a few more days. And someone please explain to me why it takes six weeks for something to get from Hong Kong to the US? I feel like I could paddle a canoe there in that amount of time. (I actually made myself laugh out loud while typing that last line. Like I could paddle a canoe across my pool, much less the entire ocean. I’m a dork.)

At any rate, we’re down to the wire. I need those earbuds to come through. The upshot is, I am excited to go home and check my mail tonight.

Tidbits

I received one valentine from a coworker.

I treated myself to lunch on Valentine’s Day. Pei-Wei. My fortune that day?

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I thought it very apropos for the day. And then I got my valentine. So…it came true?

This article made me irrationally angry at how idiotic people can be.

Peevish is the word of the day. What a terrific word.

Remember synchronicity? Lately, everywhere I turn I see or hear references to the tv series Downton Abbey. People rave about this show. Maybe I should give it a try?

Likewise, in the realm of synchronicity, it seems like every recipe I’ve stumbled across lately has a reference to coconut milk. I don’t really even know what that is, or where in the grocery store one can purchase it, but I finally found one I want to try. Unfortunately, I went to the grocery store…yesterday. I found the recipe…today. Damn. I hate the grocery store. But I have every single ingredient at home, except coconut milk. I might have to make a special stop.

But, my monthly grocery budget is $150. I only go once a month. (Have I mentioned I hate the grocery store?) and I am almost always over budget. Not by much, but $10 a month adds up pretty quick. Yesterday, after careful meal planning and grocery planning, my final total? $150.61  Doesn’t get much closer than that!

I am having a date this weekend with Elena. We haven’t had a date night in a long time. I’m very excited.

I dreamed about Donnie Wahlberg the other night, where we were friends and he came to my birthday party and sang Cover Girl to me and got several of my male friends (Justin, Tom, Frodo, and Mark) to be the rest of NKOTB and taught them the moves to Dirty Dancing and they all performed it for me. It was a weird, but happy dream.

Book club is reading The Hunger Games which I have already read and did not like. (One of the few, I know).

Vince Flynn’s new book came out this weekend, Kill Shot. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been anticipating it for over a year, it was supposed to come out in October, but he was diagnosed with cancer and had to-understandably-push back the deadline, thus the February release.

My mom made burritos blanco yesterday and reports that they were wildly successful. She, dad, and Zack all loved them. So, you no longer have only my word to count on.

Scramble with Friends is my very favoritest thing in the world right now. (Apologies to all who were playing Words with Friends with me…it just got to be too much, I need a break.) If you have a compatible phone…sign up and invite me to play. I’m obsessed.

Also, I’ve maxed out two games on my phone. As in, “no more levels” not possible to keep playing. TWO. Think I might spend too much time playing on my phone? Nope, me neither.

I’ve had a hankering for beer lately, so it’s good that our family beer festival is coming up. March 10, I can’t wait!

Okay, that’s possibly enough randomness for one day. Have a good weekend!

Lost and Found

Here’s a fun story for you.

Back to Halloween weekend. I went out with some girls on Friday the 28th. We were in MPLS and partying hard. We ended up taking a taxi back to St. Paul. On the ride home, Elena and I were starving and I suggested we stop at Taco Bell. She hardly ever eats TB (no idea why that is…) and had never before experienced the awesomeness that is TB, in the middle of the night, when you’ve been drinking. Ain’t nothing better, just saying.

So, of course, we get a cab driver who doesn’t know where a TB is. I pull out my phone and look it up. I had the answer for him in like 10 seconds. He was seriously amazed. He kept saying, “how did you find it so fast?” and finally I said, “man, that’s what I do” (I get kind of sassy at 2am). So we hit the extremely long line at TB. I am in the front of the cab. We order, I pay. I even offered to buy the driver a taco and he said, “no, I have a bottle of water”. I still find that funny.

Now, I have a handful of change and a bag of food. We drive about six or so blocks to Elena’s house. As we pull over, I am trying to scramble out of the cab with a bag of food, the change I’m trying frantically to shove in my pocket, and my costume accessories; all while wearing a cape that is getting in the way.

Not graceful, not at all.

We go inside, I dump my stuff, unceremoniously, on the couch and strip off all Halloween accroutrements, jewelry, wig, etc. Then we sit at the table and dig in to our fantastic bag of TB. We got done eating and Elena’s dog needed to be walked. I said I’d go with her because it was almost 3 am and I didn’t want her walking alone. Although, her dog is a Sheepdog and he’s bigger than me and barks like a maniac at anything that moves, so I don’t know who’d be dumb enough to mess with her, but still.

We got back and I told her I was going home. She asked if I was okay to drive and I was. Not drunk at all. Hadn’t had a drink in about 3 hours at that point. And I was drinking Coors Light, so there’s that.

She said, “text me when you get home.” No problem.

I got into my car and something niggled at the back of my brain. I didn’t know where my phone was. I figured it was in my extraordinarily messy purse, but I hadn’t seen it in a while. I started to dig around to find it. I couldn’t. I flipped all the lights on in my car and tore through that purse, taking every item out. Not there.

I climbed into the backseat and looked through the bag I had with my Halloween stuff in it…not there. Shit.

I went back to Elena’s door and knocked. She was already in bed. I knocked for a while and finally she came down. I said I couldn’t find my phone. We looked through her house and couldn’t find it. We tried calling it and calling it and calling it. I figured we might hear it. I knew the ringer was off, because we were in a loud bar, so there was no point in having it on, but it would still vibrate.

We went out to my car and she called it again…still nothing.

By this point, I was feeling very sick. I had the worst feeling that I had lost this phone. Other than my house, my car, and my laptop, it is the most expensive thing I own (and the laptop only wins by about $100). Aside from that, practically speaking, it is my PHONE. I don’t have a house phone, and I live alone, so it is the only phone I have. It also powers my internet connection. And it is my alarm clock, but that is a smaller concern.

However, it was going on 4am at this point, so there wasn’t much we could do, so I just went home. I’ll tell you, I felt extremely vulnerable and naked without that phone. I kept thinking that if I got in an accident or ran out of gas I don’t have a phone to call for help. (Which made me think all the way back to high school, when I didn’t have a phone, when no one had phones. Dear God, how did we survive?)

I got home and went to bed. When I woke up…the next afternoon…I still had no phone. I wanted to call the cab company, to see if I forgot it in the cab, which was the only thing I could remember. I know for sure I used it in the cab, so I thought I must not have put it back in my pocket and maybe it got knocked on the floor.

I had to drive to my mom’s house. No one was home, fortunately I have a garage door opener, so I could get in. I called the cab company. But, I should mention, I don’t know for sure what kind of cab we took home. I called the cab we took there, because it was the number I knew. They told me that weekend items left in cabs aren’t turned in until Monday, when the central lost and found opens.

Monday.

It was Saturday.

I didn’t think I could go for two days not knowing.

Finally, I left my mom’s and decided to drive to Elena’s. I couldn’t call to see if she was home (do you see the annoyance here?) and I don’t know her number by heart. I thought I did, so I called, but I was off by one digit. I disturbed some poor elderly woman in Portland, ME. Ah well, my phone was lost.

So, I drive back into St. Paul. Luckily, I just caught Elena. She was about to leave for a baby shower. First thing I did was search the boulevard, in case I dropped the phone getting out of  the cab. It hadn’t rained the night before, but it was supposed to rain that night. Overnight in the cold won’t destroy it, but rain will, so if it was outside, I wanted to find it.

We both searched and searched and looked in the gutter and under leaves and everyplace we could think of. My phone was not outside. We then went in to search in the house. We had done that the night before, but I wanted to search in daylight. Lane pointed out that I would hear it, but I thought if it was between couch cushions we wouldn’t hear it. We basically tore her house apart and didn’t find it.

I did not know what else to do. I had the worst suspicion that it was gone forever. I was hanging a lot on the integrity of a cab driver to turn in a highly expensive Iphone. Assuming, of course, I could get in touch with the correct cab company.

Then, there is the problem with At&T’s contracts. You have to sign a 2-year contract to upgrade. I did this in July of 2010. The phone itself is covered by warranty for one year. Of course, that was expired. And, warranty doesn’t apply to losing a phone, but in order to re-up a contract you must have served 21/24 months. That means I am not eligible until March. For this period, I am SOL. It means that if I need to replace my phone, I must pay full retail price. Most people don’t realize that the price of a phone in the phone store is NOT the price of the phone. That is the discount price you get for signing a contract.

Without being able to get out of my contract ($350) and having no choice but to get a new phone…a new Iphone would cost me $599 for the smaller memory. The lost phone is the larger memory. That one would have cost me $699.

To get the older version of the phone, older than what I lost it would still have been $499.

So, to get a phone worse than the one I lost, without all my information inside it, would have been FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!

I do not have $500. At all. I’m broke. Flat-out, no money extra at all, kind of broke.

Why then, would I get an Iphone, you ask? Well, because I use it for internet access. Without that, I don’t get internet at home and then I couldn’t do my PT job. As I have to do my PT job, or I’ll lose my house, I must have internet. To buy internet at a monthly fee would end up costing more, long term, plus I’d still have to pay to get some kind of phone. The cheap, “free” phones, without a contract are still $179.99 for the cheapest AT&T has. In order to leave AT&T to get a prepaid or pay-as-you-go phone would cost me the $350 to break the contract.

I wanted to cry for how expensive this was…because I wasn’t careful with something that I AM ALWAYS CAREFUL WITH.

I was so upset, because I saw zero options. I could not afford to replace this phone, but I had no choice, I had to replace this phone.

Before leaving Elena’s, she had a brilliant idea to send a text to the phone with her number. Just in case. Then, if someone found it, or if the cab company saw it, they might call or text her to let her know it was found. I didn’t have high hopes, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. Besides, as I told Elena, someone could have found it on her boulevard before we did our search. She said she would never have picked up someone’s phone. I said I absolutely would, but I would also try to figure out who it belongs to. Call the most recent calls, see if they have “home” or “mom” or something in their contacts. That kind of thing. But, no one had done that, that I know of.

Still, we sent the text, just in case.

Then, dejected, depressed, and feeling very naked, I went home. I realized that my family couldn’t reach me, but I didn’t have any way to call them to tell them I lost my phone. I guessed that if they were looking for me and couldn’t get in touch with me, they’d drive over.

I sat at home for the rest of Saturday, trying to do anything to keep my mind off of this.

About 8 pm ish that evening, someone rang my doorbell. I thought it was my family, worried about me. I ran downstairs and opened the door.

It was Elena. She couldn’t call…

…so she drove out to my house.

To give me back my phone!

Turns out, the text message worked. While she was at her shower, she got a message back to call a certain number. She got home and called them and it was this older couple who lived only a few blocks from Elena. They had gone out for a walk Saturday morning and happened to see my phone on her boulevard. They picked it up and…kept it?

They never tried to contact anyone. My parents are listed in my contacts as “Home”, which sure would have been a good place to call. They didn’t do that. But, for some reason, when they saw the text, they called Elena. She went to their house and picked up my phone.

When she held out her hand and my phone was there, I actually got tears in my eyes. I was so unbelievably relieved to have it back and to have that catastrophe averted. I couldn’t believe that it had been missing for less than 24 hours at that point and it was the focus of my whole world.

It helped me remember that there are still kind people out there who will do something nice to help a stranger. I sent a thank you note to those people, and I don’t even know their names. I had their address from Elena, as she had driven there, but that was it.

I wanted them to know that they really helped me out a great deal, without even knowing it.

I told Elena that I was glad to have it back because I had so much fun the night before, but if my phone was lost, that would be the only thing I’d remember about that night, it would have been forever tainted. Now, of course, it is a dramatic story I can tell and Halloween was still a raucous good time.

And, in the meantime, I don’t think my phone has been out of my sight since that night. I even leave it in the bathroom when I shower…just in case.

Wonders of Technology

Stumbled across a gem of a site today.

Have you ever had trouble with your phone placing a word you didn’t mean to use into a text? Auto correct?

It can be a pain at times. Or it can be unspeakably hilarious as I’ve found.

Even if these are faked (as I suspect for many) it is still beyond humorous.

Damn You Auto Correct.

I was laughing so hard I actually started crying and my nose was running. It was embarrassing. I had to come here and blog about it in order to tear myself away from reading it.

Enjoy!