Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nookie Time

I bought my B&N Nook ereader in March.  That has resulted in a couple of changes in my life:

  1. I no longer read magazines in the bathroom.
  2. I no longer buy books (Nook lets me download ebooks from the library).
  3. My TiVo queue has grown quite extensive as I prefer reading to watching TV.
  4. I don't mind standing in line at the grocery store at all...it just means I get to read a page or two in my book.

But being the gadget guru, I'm always looking for the newest/best gadget out there.

After months of anticipation, Barnes and Noble finally announced the new version of their Nook ereader today.

Rumors were that it was going to be everything I wanted:
  • 7 inches (instead of the 6 of the original Nook)
  • Full color e-ink screen (instead of original black & white e-ink)
  • Portrait or landscape mode (instead of just portrait)
  • Full screen touchscreen (instead of just the 1-inch strip at the bottom)
Well, it didn't matter that my Nook was functioning perfectly well.  I knew I had to have it.  I planned to drive to Akron to pick it up as soon as it was available.

Today, they presented the new Nook Color.  What was announced was everything in the rumors...except...it is an LCD screen instead of color e-ink.

 NOOKcolor screen

Nobody who has ever read on an e-ink screen will ever read books on an LCD screen.  First, you can't even see the screen if the sun is out.  Second, LCD screens flicker hundreds of times a minute...you just don't notice it, but your eyes do.  That's why computer work gives folks headaches.  

 Here's a microscope view of an LCD screen versus an e-ink screen:

Here's a magnified view of an iPad LCD screen


 And here it is on an e-ink screen

Plus, you can't read a book out in the sun on an LCD screen.  Go ahead, look at your camera or cell phone and try reading when the son is glaring on the screen.  On e-ink displays...no problem.

So, the bad news is that Nook Color is LCD.
But the good news is that since it is LCD instead of e-ink, I save $250.

So, no new Nookie for me.  I'd like to have color, but since I mostly read novels, black and white is just fine.  I will miss having the landscape orientation, though.  Sometimes, it's just nicer having the display wider than it is long.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Purple Power

Those folks on Facebook are always coming up with new ways to get a bunch of people to do something as a group.

We've had the "bra color for breast cancer" thing where you are only supposed to post what color your bra is (without any explanation other than posting the name of the color) and similarly the "purse placement" where you list the place in your house that you keep your purse (both of which I managed to be as sexual as possible by answering "nude" to the first one and "well, I don't like big ones, so I usually just go without" to the latter).

Today was "Wear Purple Against Homophobia."  With all the lesbians I know, I'm surprised there weren't any "purple-people-eater" comments, but maybe I'm the only one with that sick of a mind.

All four of my family members wore purple, but what surprised me was how many of my friends - married, single, gay, straight, young, and old - did the purple thing, too.  I have amazing friends!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Twilight Dreams

Two years ago, mom offered to make me a quilt.  All I had to do was pick a pattern and chose some colors and she’d do the hard stuff.  Am I lucky, or what?

What I didn’t realize was how hard it would be to find a pattern I liked.  I’m not a “traditional quilt” kind of girl and the concept of “scrap quilting” drives my brain bonkers.  I like things neat and organized and orderly (and for those of you who have seen my housekeeping abilities…hush!).

I scoured mountains of quilting magazines and books, and then I found the one I wanted.  It had the rather boring name of “Strips and Strings” or something like that.  But I fell in love with the picture.  It’s basically just a quilt that starts off in ivory/pale lavender and radiates darker towards the edges.

So, Mom started gathering material in varying shades of purple.

This is the center of the quilt.  

See all those strips?  
They become the individual blocks of the quilt.  I watched my mom make this thing from start to finish and I STILL can’t figure out how she could take a bunch of solid pieces of material and create this masterpiece.  She’s a quilting genius, I tell ya!


A few more of the darker strips going on the quilt.

The top is done!   
Since the only place big enough to pin together a queen-size quilt is the middle of our living room floor…down Mom goes to her hands and knees.  It’s awfully nice that Harmony and Melody are there to help. 


And of course, Harmony wants to help hand-sew the binding on the quilt, too.  (Melody’s there, too, but you can’t see her because she’s our “tunneling” cat and she’s buried herself under the quilt by Mom’s feet.)


And here it is…Twilight Dreams.   

Gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe it.  It’s ALMOST worth cleaning my room and making my bed occasionally just so I can admire it. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Covering my Assets

Last week, I finally bought my Barnes and Noble Nook eReader.  I was thrilled, but it didn't take long for me to realize that without a cover of some sort, it was just not practical to take anywhere.  

I searched the Internet and found a few nice covers.  Then I went to www.oberondesign.com and my search ended.  They have custom-made journals and eReader covers in about 20 different designs. The first one I saw was called "Tree of Life" and I fell in love. I balked at the price, but I just couldn't get it out of my head.  I showed Mom, fully realizing that she thought the Nook was a waste of money and she'd talk me out of spending even more moolah on a cover.  Nope.  She took one look and said "It's gorgeous!  Happy birthday!"  I ordered it that night.

Since they are custom made and they wouldn't receive the order until Monday, they said to expect the cover to ship between 14 to 21 days after ordering.  So...I still had the Nook that couldn't really be carried anywhere because the screens would get damaged floating around in my purse.  Mom to the rescue.  She's a whiz with the sewing machine, so I asked if she could make some sort of sleeve for it.  As usual, she took a rough idea and made something perfect.  Not only did she let me pick the fabric, but she quilted it with a cushioning layer of batting and even took the tattered cover off of an old junk book to reinforce the front of the cover so nothing could poke the screen.  She rocks.


The day after she made the cover, I got the email saying "it's been shipped!"  Yeah...a mere 4 days after ordering, the item was already in transit.  I received it today.

The front cover is gorgeous.  They created a custom pewter button to hold the cover closed (and even sent a matching charm for free).  The leather is incredibly thick and they even say there is no problem with folding it completely back - something I'd never do for fear of it cracking if they hadn't assured me it was okay.

This is one of their "wrap-around" designs which makes it just as gorgeous on the back as the front.  


The Nook looks like it is barely being held in place, but Oberon has a video showing their "shake test" and trust me, it's secure.


I feel bad that Mom went to all of the work to make me a sleeve that I only used for one day.  She's already been hired (for the price of "eternal love and back scratches") by Beth to make a netbook cover because Beth was so impressed.  

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gonna Have Nookie in Bed Tonight!

Given my severe lack of anything resembling a sex life, there are only three things that give me pleasure these days (kids notwithstanding):
1.  Books.
2.  Technology.
3.  Food.

So, of course, when the eBook readers came out, I started looking at them.  They were ridiculously expensive, too large to slip in a pocket, and the books were overpriced (between $10 and $20 no matter how long the books were available as cheap paperbacks).  

I decided to go ahead and just use my cell phone as an eBook reader.  Cool.  It covers #1 (Books) and #2 (Technology) perfectly.  Sit there reading a story while munching on a bag of Fritos and I hit the trifecta!

I've been happy...except for the cost of the books, of course. 


But then, I discovered that Ohio's public libraries offer free eBook loans.  Woo hoo!!  About 10% of their selection are available as .mobi books (which you can put on any smartphone).  Yay!!  But it didn't take me long to realize that most of the books I really wanted to read were in ePub format, which would require reading on my computer (not gonna happen) or purchasing either a Sony Reader or a Barnes and Noble Nook reader.  After checking them out, the Sony Readers are really junkie.  The Nook is awesome, but overpriced ($258).

So the devil on my shoulder sat there whispering in my ear.  "You know, you read a book every two weeks or so.  Since these books are free, that savings over buying $10 books every two weeks would pay for that Nook reader."  I never gave the angel on my other shoulder time to talk sense into me.

I drove up to Akron yesterday and bought it.  It's amazing!!  It does the eBooks and periodicals, of course, but it also displays my pictures, plays music and best of all, plays audiobooks.  It's still a little large for me, (about the height and weight of a paperback, but much thinner) but I'll get used to it.  

Here's a shot of King's Under the Dome on my cell phone and as a hardcover.  Since I've already read it, I pulled up a different story (James Patterson) on the Nook for comparison.  


The Nook is perfectly viewable no matter how bright the sun is shining on it which is awesome and that's one of the problems I've had with my cell phone.  It doesn't have a backlight which is a bummer, but I can always clip a light onto the Nook.  

So tonight, I'm gonna enjoy some Nookie in bed!

I just found the most amazing leather cover for it online...more about that another day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grandpuppies are Priceless

Back in September, my dad called.  I couldn't quite figure out what he was saying, because he was only able to utter a few words mixed in with gut-wrenching sobs.  I finally understood what he was saying "Camshaft broke her leg and the vet says she has to be put down."

Cammie, an 8-year-old very overweight lab is my dad's life.  This dog (his grandpuppy) is more important to him than anything.  When the vet said they couldn't help her, he just couldn't accept that.  They sedated her and the next morning we took her to a specialty animal hospital.  They took better x-rays and determined that the break happened the length of her leg bone, rather than breaking it in half down the middle.  

The vet agreed that with damage like this, it is definitely a case for putting her to sleep.  But...with enough money, yes, they could fix her.  Did I mention that Cammie is Dad's life??  They gave an estimate of $3,100 to place internal screws and rods and straps in addition to having two "external fixators" that would give extra support.

The problem was that the break was unusual (she was just standing up from a sitting position when it just snapped) in presentation and it usually happens from bone cancer, which is prevalent in her breed.  They wouldn't know if she had osteosarcoma until they got the path reports back...two weeks after the surgery.  

Dad readily whipped out his checkbook.  She underwent surgery immediately and we went back in the next morning to pick her up.  

It amazed me that she was able to walk (and was happy!) just hours after surgery.  That Fentanyl patch they slapped on her was a miracle!  The best news was that the surgeon saw no evidence of cancer.  Woo hoo!  The bad news was that the $3,100 estimate somehow went to $4,000.  But oh well.  When you see the picture of Cammie as she looks with adoring eyes at her Grandpa, it was worth it.


Two weeks later, she went in for a re-check.  Bad news.  The path report said that it was probable osteosarcoma.  We were looking at a two- to three-month lifespan.  It was just devastating.  Dad said "then she'll have the best three months of her life."

We had to keep going back to the doctor every two weeks or so for x-rays. (Which were not included in the price quote. Hmmph.)  She was able to hobble around fine, but she wasn't allowed to do any stairs.  So how exactly are we supposed to carry a 120-pound dog?  My dad always says "Where there's a Wood, there's a way."  He attached a ramp to his house and made a portable ramp to get her in and out of his van (that has the license plate "CAMSHAF" because he bought the vehicle just for the dog!) and even transfer her from one van to the other.  


So, she was very happy and obviously nobody ever told Cammie that she only had three months to live.  Apparently they never told her she has cancer, either.  Because it's been six months, she just had her final vet visit and he said "she's a miracle.  There are no signs of tumors, she doesn't have cancer.  Let's get this fixator taken off of her so she can be happy." 


And she is.

Oh, and final tally - nearly $6,000.  Worth every penny.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

She's Driving Me Crazy

Bugs scare me.  Climbing more than 5 rungs on a ladder sends shivers down my spine.  Getting a letter from the IRS could make me wet my pants.  

But none of those is  more terrifying than teaching my 16-year-old to drive.  Wait...that's a bit of a misnomer.  I'm not teaching her anything.  I'm sitting beside her in a 4,000-pound lethal weapon white-knuckling my grip on the oh-shit handle while stomping on the imaginary brakes while screaming "look out! Too close!! AHHH!" while she calmly rolls her eyes and keeps muttering "you've gotta trust me sometime..."

When I say I'm terrified teaching Heather to drive, it's not an exaggeration.  She's had her permit for a year and has only been driving probably 10 times in that timeframe, all because I'm too scared to take her.

I just saw that Honda has a driving simulator.  You know...like they have for pilots, but this is intended for cars.  Why haven't they been doing this for new drivers for years?  Instead, they just let kids get behind the wheel and give their parents heart attacks. 

  The all-new Honda automobile driving simulator is something all secondary schools should l...

I think insurance companies should pay the $66,000 and put one of these in every town.  Let kids learn to drive before they actually start driving.  And save me from needing a heart transplant.

Meanwhile, Heather just set up her appointment to finally have her first in-car driving lesson with the instructor at Frenzel's.  I hope they take their heart medication.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another year older, another year wiser...

So, yeah.  It's been a whole year since I've blogged.  Did ya miss me?

I miss blogging.  Facebook is fun, but there's only so much info I can give in a quick little update.  I miss telling the story of my life, rather than just posting a snippet.

So, I'm back.  I hope you are, too.