Category Archives: proud geek

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline – narrated by Wil Wheaton

Someone on Twitter recommended this book to me after I wrote my ‘Hitchhiker’s’ post. I can’t remember who recommended “Ready Player One” but if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!

I had so much fun with this book! I decided to read it while B was at a conference in Vegas since I like to pick books to read that won’t scare me to death at night when he’s not here haha. “Ready Player One” made me happy and kept me distracted and brought back memories and made me understand Carol better. I’ve never been a gamer but Carol is and talks about games a lot and so much about the book made Carol make sense haha! A lot of the pop culture references and older tech was fuzzy to me since I was born in 1978 so most of what was discussed in the book was coming out when I was pretty young but oh man was it fun! Sometimes it’s hard to remember just how lucky we are with the technology we have today. I bet if teenagers read this book they think most of the tech discussed is fiction haha!

So wait, back up. I haven’t even told you what this book is about. Basically it’s set in the future and we all get to escape our crappy reality and live in the Oasis, a world completely online in a virtual reality. It’s like Twitter to the awesomeTH degree. And there’s this contest, wait not really a contest, kinda like a Golden ticket thing where you have to solve riddles based on 80’s pop culture in order to win the ultimate video game and oh man it’s awesome!

But, the book reminds us that we do have to go outside sometimes and deal with the real world. Oh. But until then, it’s escapism to the max! And get this, it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton! *Swoon* If you aren’t a geek who tends to crush on geek guys especially when you were a teen, you won’t get the swoon. Whoa, took a break from writing this to eat Sunday ice cream and put on a Big Bang episode and it had Wil Wheaton in it! *swoon*

Ok so back to the book, just get it. Ready?

Rating: So good!

“Ready Player One” at Audible ~ “Ready Player One” at Amazon

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2013 Book List, Audio books, proud geek, twitter me this

Book fifty-five in 2012 – “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base” – Annie Jacobsen

This book was one included in one of Audible’s recent sales so I snatched it up. I remember my friend Ricardo reading it last year before I was on Audible and I couldn’t find it on iTunes at the time so I was happy to rediscover it at Audible. I enjoyed this book a lot. Being a huge fan of The X-Files , learning about Area 51 was incredibly interesting and the book also delves into history, most of which I had heard about but didn’t know much about since history was not a strong subject at my high school.

As I read this I kept wondering who the heck this Annie Jacobsen person was. I should have looked her up but I didn’t until I was done with the book. Here is how a New York Times article explains where Jacobsen’s info came from:

What is it about Ms. Jacobsen that has made her privy to such inflammatory material? It’s best to know her answer to this question before delving into her book. And her answer is strange and byzantine in the way that all things about Area 51 seem to be. Ms. Jacobsen, a national security reporter and contributing editor to The Los Angeles Times Magazine, happened to be at a 2007 family dinner with her husband’s uncle’s wife’s sister’s 88-year-old husband, the physicist Edward Lovick, when Mr. Lovick leaned over and said, “Have I got a good story for you.”

This book had me until the end when Jacobsen inserts her own theory that I just can’t begin to believe, sorry Annie. I almost wish I didn’t know what I know now about nuclear testing, I can tell you that much. There’s no debate about the truthfulness of that history unfortunately.

Jacobsen narrates this book herself and while I usually don’t like when authors narrate their books, I think her voice is well suited to the narration of this type of book. It was well written and very well researched. I only wish I could insert the book into a word cloud machine so I could find out how often she uses the word, “clandestine”. At least it pushed me to understand the full meaning of the word. She also pronounced it funny, at least to my ear, with the end syllable as “stine” and not “stin”. Potato potahto.

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16/12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41.* “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” (Book One of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

51. “Catching Fire” (Book Two of The Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/18/12

52. “Mocking Jay” (Book Three of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/23/12

53. “The Brass Verdict” (Harry Bosch #14, Mickey Haller #2) – Michael Connelly – finished 11/28/12

54. “The Art of Fielding” – Chad Harbach – Finished 12/2/12

55. “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base” – Annie Jacobsen – Finished 12/11/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, iTunes, proud geek

And it would have been fine if it hadn’t been for those meddling headphones

This is why I really shouldn’t make plans. Strike that, I need to be prepared when a wrench is thrown into the works. It’s not even like I had crazy awesome plans, but I had my Saturday pretty much mapped out to be leisurely after a stressful week. I planned to give a book a read through to write up a post on it today. I managed to read the book but then…enter the wrench.

Last night I discovered something I didn’t know about my Mac that is pretty sweet. I had this book in a text document but I have no way of holding my place in such a long document so I planned on recording system audio during a time I wasn’t on my computer. Luckily I mentioned this to my Mac expert friend Ricardo and he informed me that the Mac will convert text to speech into a sound file in itunes. No way! Way! He explained how to do it and it worked. So Today I had an audio file of Voiceover reading the book just like an audio book with the ability to play and pause when I needed to.

So after I was done with my morning reading which included an email with content that got my blood pressure up and my heart rate pounding which started a headache (this is foreshadowing), I settled back to go over the book and drink my coffee.

B stepped out to run errands so I took my Logitech USB wireless headphones off and plugged them in to charge so I could enjoy the book over my speakers and also to throw some additional charge into the headphones. Sometimes on Weekends the charge doesn’t last all day and while I can use the headphones while they’re charging, I don’t like being tethered now that I am so used to the freedom of wireless.

I was jotting down notes for my write-up when B got home and I plugged the receiver for the headphones in and switched them on. Nothing. Hmmm. Switch off and back on. Nothing. No beep. They usually beep when switched on and then beep again when connected. Nothing. Over and over, on and off and on. Nothing. Unplug receiver. Nothing. Headache getting worse.

I dig out the old Logitech headphones that I had taped together to salvage them until B got me a new set. Nothing on those. I switch off and on. One beep. Ooh! Then nothing. Both sets were dead. Head is pounding.

Ok, so remember the vicious murder of the coffee maker?

I stood up with the Logitech and tightly grasped the earpieces in my hands.

“I’m going to break this,” I grunted through gritted teeth.

“No!” B exclaimed, making the moment sound very dramatic.

“Why not? They’re already dead!” I said, stomping towards the kitchen, prepared to snap the things like a wishbone. B stammered something and I came to my senses. I’m not sure if it was him or the Lexapro that kept me from destroying the Logitech. It turns out the charger for the headphones will work to charge B’s phone via his computer, so at least something good came from it. For some reason, both dead Logitechs went back into my drawer.

I began the task of shopping for a new set of wireless headphones. The major thing I didn’t like about the Logitech was the behind the neck design. The tops of my ears begin to ache after prolonged use and I can’t rest my head back on the couch. So deciding to try something new meant that I wanted to find a set with the old headband design.

If anyone has any questions about wireless headphones for computers, I think I read about nearly every kind out there. I asked Twitter for recommendations and it failed me for the first time. No one had opinions which shocked me. Actually one person did recommend a Plantronics set but that was after I finally settled on something.

I don’t remember how I finally found these but I decided on this Soundblaster Tactic3D Wrath wireless usb headset from Creative> After reading that page I was beginning to drool and after I read reviews on Amazon from extreme gamer types I was sold. Headphones are an extension of my computer for me. I need to be able to hear my screen reader when B has the TV on and I also don’t want him to have to hear my computer. Not only that but my music, books and movies as well. Oh and let’s not forget baseball! They must be wireless, especially for baseball, so I never miss a minute of a game when I have to walk away from my computer.

B had already agreed that a Best Buy trip would be in order once I found the headphones I wanted. I checked the website and they carry them but it said that store delivery or something wasn’t an option. That worried me. I called to see if they had them. After getting through the Silicone Sally prompts, I was told one caller was ahead of me. Loud, no not loud, blaring synthesizer Christmas music began pumping through my bluetooth. Headache. Got. Very. Very. Pissed. I thought to myself, if they have the headphones, the obnoxious music will be worth it. They didn’t have the headphones.

This was a few hours after the death of the Logitech. I had my old wired headphones plugged in and had even tried paring the Plantronics bluetooth I use for my phone to the Mac but it sounded awful and I scared myself, thinking I had killed the connection between it and the iPhone forever haha.

So when we found out Best Buy didn’t have the Soundblaster headphones, we were both dumbfounded. What other electronics stores are there? We both drew a total blank. Finally I just Googled electronics stores and remembered Radio Shack which made me remember Gamestop and SWS. Neither Radio Shack nor Gamestop had them. The man at SWS sounded regretful to inform me he didn’t carry them either but at least he had the knowledge to tell me it would probably be hard to find Soundblaster devices in stores. He told me they make soundcards and such but that I’d need to get the headphones online.

“Yeah, my headphones broke today so I was hoping to replace them today,” I said, defeated. He went on to tell me he carried Logitech and I thanked him and hung up.

I went back to Amazon and put in the order. I’m saving fifty bucks. Go Amazon! In the meantime I’m tethered to my desk. I kept getting tangled in the chord . Once you go wireless, you just can’t go back! I began to wonder how I could sit on the couch with my headphones when I remembered that my Samsung Gomic has a headphone port in it. Perfect! So I’m using that as an extension for now so I have a little more freedom of movement.

I said to B after that was all over with and we ordered dinner that this was the first day on the Lexapro that I really felt my emotions go out of control. He said the headphones must have just been the last straw. Just yesterday I wrote about taking care of the little things. They can still totally sneak up on you. This morning I had a hard time catching Timmy so I could put him in the room to keep him from escaping while I took Jayden out. I collapsed on the floor sobbing, and the darned cat came right to me. This was after awakening from a nightmare that someone had stolen Jayden. Then the email happened, then the headphones died, all after a tough week. Perfect recipe for a breakdown. It wasn’t awful though and getting some emotion out was actually a relief. Good floor time with Jayden made the headache go away.

At least no electronics or appliances were harmed in the making of this day.

3 Comments

Filed under Amazon, apple Inc, coffeeholic, dream, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2012, proud geek, screen reader, Silicone Sally, Timmy, twitter me this

A Letter to Fifty-Three Year-Old Me

Writing the letter to my fourteen year-old self was fun. The writing prompt I took the idea from said to follow it up the next day with a letter to myself in twenty years. I didn’t give it much thought until it was the next day and the thought of the future was too scary. I think today I am ready to do this since two fictional worlds I’ve dived into recently are more scary (hopefully) than twenty years from now will be.

So, fifty-three year old Ro, I hope you are alive to read this. If you are not fifty- three year-old Ro, meaning you are Ro and not fifty-three yet, don’t read this. You can’t read this until November 11, 1032. Oh wow.

Oh and readers, you should leave a comment. If this blog is still here in twenty years, hopefully it is, your comments will be in a time capsule of sorts haha!

Dear fifty-three year-old Ro,

Wow, so did I make it this long? Mom didn’t make it to fifty-three so if I’m reading this in twenty years I better be grateful. Remember how you thought you’d never see thirty because of how crazy your life was and then you literally didn’t see thirty because you went blind at twenty-nine? Yeah, I still think that’s funny today. Do you still find it funny in twenty years? I hope so, because without humor there’s just no point.

Do you need a refresher of what life was like for you at thirty-three? Well, I’ve been with B for just over five and a half years now. Are we still together in twenty years? If we are, what is he like? Did he ever start eating vegetables? I know, that’s probably a really stupid question. My three best friends are Carol, Chupa and Georgie. How are they? Ok I’m misting up thinking about these people in twenty years. Do you remember being convinced that everyone would die before you and you would be left alone in this scary world? That was only like two months ago, before I started Lexapro. Thinking about the people I love the most and how it will be in twenty years is starting to freak me out. It’s a good thing I’m medicated.

What about Erik? He’s my only friend who’s younger than I am. Only by a few months but still. How is he? I hope you are still in touch with him. We’ve been friends so long and there has always been gaps where we lose touch. Although ever since I went blind and started using my Macbook, we haven’t lost touch, so I hope in twenty years we’re still close.

Ok, so speaking of my Mac, what is technology like? Do people have stuff implanted in them yet? I always imagine little nano chips for phones and stuff. I mean seriously, the technology has to be amazing in twenty years! Or is it scary? Has it gotten out of control? It could go that route too. Right now you have an iPhone 4 running iOS 6.0.1. The latest iPhone is the 5. What is the iPhone in twenty years? Do you have an iPhone? Has any other phone ever rivaled the accessibility of the iPhone? I have a Macbook they don’t even make anymore. I was almost completely out of space on it so I started converting videos to mp3. What do you have in twenty years? Do they even make laptops anymore? Do they use wires at all? I can’t imagine there would be wires anymore. Am I right?

What animals do you have? Right now I have Jayden and Timmy and Spinelli and Fi. I can’t think about the future without them.

Are you still blind? Did they figure out how to give you new optic nerves? If so, did you get them? As of right now, I can’t imagine seeing again. I’m so used to things the way they are, so I don’t know if I would try anything to see again. I remember when I first went blind I wanted more than anything to see again, even just a little bit. I was ready to get on a plane and go to the UK where they were experimenting with a cancer drug that helped MS patients regain lost functions. Now though? I couldn’t imagine testing a drug. It’s a scary thought. So what have you done in twenty years?

I’m afraid to think about what the MS has done to me in twenty years. It’s impossible to think about my future self though without wondering about that. I won’t think about that now. Maybe you’re reading this in twenty years and smiling because nothing horrible has happened. Is that too much to ask for?

There really isn’t much more to write. There isn’t much to say to a future self beyond asking questions. I can say I hope you are as happy as I am today. Though I hope you are happier. I’m happy, but I could be happier. I just hope you aren’t less happy. I hope you’re still sober, though obviously when it comes to that I can’t really think beyond today. If you’re sober and still smoke free and at least as happy as I am now, then you’ve got it good.

Oh hey wait, I have to ask, is there equality? Have people finally quit being so damned uptight about gay marriage? Has racism and bigotry finally really gone away? Do women still have freedom over their own bodies? Has the insanity over birth control gone away? Did people start finally focusing on the real problems? God I hope so. If there isn’t more love an acceptance in twenty years, how are you managing?

I’m reading “The Handmaid’s Tale”, do you remember reading that book? It’s incredibly depressing. It’s what could happen if the crusty old white guys don’t stop wanting to control the female body. It’s terrifying. I hope it’s nothing like this in twenty years because if it’s going to go down that path, I hope the Mayans were right. If they were right, you won’t be reading this in twenty years, no one will.

Ok wow, this turned very doom and gloom. I was afraid this would happen when I thought about writing this letter. Writing to fourteen year-old me was fun because I don’t fear the past and because I knew what happened. This letter is nothing but fear of the unknown and my dwindling hope for a happy future.

I guess my only hope is that there’s just more love in the future. There has to be, or the future is grim grim grim.

I should end this on a happy note. Hmmm, happy. So have the Rays won a World Series or five? Ten? How long did Evan Longoria stay? Please tell me he didn’t end up with Boston or New York. What about David Price? Did I ever meet any of them? How are all my online friends? I don’t want to start naming them all because that’s a lot and I’m sure I’d end up leaving someone out.

One last question, what kind of voice are you listening to on your Mac? I can only assume you still use a screen reader and a Mac. Is it still Alex or have they made new voices that are just as good? Knowing Apple, they probably use human speech in twenty years haha. Ok, I just heard my DM ping. I think that’s my cue to wrap this up.

I hope this letter finds you well , my fifty-three year-old self! Oh, happy early birthday!

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – Do they have replicators and/or transporters yet? Did you ever publish anything?

6 Comments

Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, Alex, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cool product, evan longoria, fellowship, Fi, humor as coping skill, I might be a writer, in the news, iPhone, Jayden, letters, mental health, misty eyes, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, politics, proud geek, screen reader, silly girl, sobriety, Spinelli, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this

A Letter to Fourteen Year-Old Me

I follow a Twitter account that is posting daily writing prompts to assist people with NaBloPoMo ideas. Part of me really wants to come up with my own ideas but I think that’s the stubborn part. I found one of the ideas really intriguing so I saved the tweet. For today’s post, I’ll write a letter to my fourteen year-old self. Whoa. I’m imagining it being November 4, 1993. Tomorrow I’ll write a letter to myself in twenty years. I’ve been trying to recall who I was when I was fourteen. This should be interesting!

Dear fourteen year-old Ro,

Did your eyes light up when I referred to you as Ro? I bet they did. I know how much you always wished you could have a cool nickname and how you fantasized that you could be like Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well guess what? You don’t turn out like Ro, but you’ll be known as Ro in your thirties. How cool is that?

It’s funny that I’m writing this letter to you because just yesterday I played four X-Files episodes so I could convert them to mp3. You have no idea what that means I realize. Oh, the technology that is coming, I won’t even begin to try and explain because I think it might freak you out a little bit. Just…pay attention to a lot of what they use in Star Trek, ok? Because I can tell you from first hand knowledge of the future that some of that is real in my time. Don’t get too excited; they haven’t figured out how to transport things yet. You and your friend Carol will wish for that a lot when you grow up. Transporters and replicators would make life so easy but I guess maybe we won’t see that in our lifetime. Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t want you getting your hopes up. Technology is going to be a huge part of your life in the future. I know right now you’re resistant to it but just trust me, ok? Oh, and try to remember what that little Mac is called when Mom gives it to you.

Congratulations on making it through middle school. I know that was awful and I know you’re still recovering from it and wishing it had never happened. Try and believe me when I say it made you incredibly strong and you have no idea what that hardship prepared you for as you grow up. I won’t go into details but I will tell you that everything you’re going through now is all going to be invaluable as you face challenges in life. There will be challenges. But you overcome them because of your experience. Just keep doing everything you’re doing because I have no regrets. You’re doing it all the right way.

Except, quit being so hard on yourself about Mom and Dad’s marriage, ok? It’s not your fault. No really. It’s not your fault.

On a happier note, you know how much you love cats? Well that doesn’t stop and Combat and Little Kitty are with you for a really long time. You know how you think you’ll never have a dog? Well you’re gonna have the coolest dog ever, take my word for it on that. I’m sitting with him on the couch as I write this and he is the light of my life. You’re probably rolling your eyes at that but it’s the truth!

I want to say I’m very proud of you for waiting with G. Your future self is grateful you didn’t give in to your hormones with him. You really are too young for that and that is totally ok, so just keep waiting. You know that boy C who sits with you in Biology? Can you try to keep closer tabs on him? You’re probably laughing at me right now. I know you don’t think much of him now but you just wait. I lost touch with him and only just recently found him on Facebook but neither of us uses it much so I still don’t know what’s up with him. I’m sure the word Facebook is confusing you. There is so much in the realm of technology you’ll experience! I wish I could watch. Oh and Wesley Crusher? Yeah, I follow him on Twitter. Wil Wheaton that is. Don’t ask what Twitter is, it’s too hard to explain. I’ve talked to him though. Well not really I mean he hasn’t replied to me but his wife has! Oh sorry, yeah he has a wife and it’s not you. Oh that was harsh? Just helping to toughen that skin!

Oh, I know I said I had no regrets from this time in our life but I do want to make one suggestion. Stay in the girls chorus one year longer ok? If you graduate when I did you’ll be really upset the next year when you find out where the tour is. I know you left chorus to focus on getting ready for college but trust me on this and stay in an extra year. The experience of the trip will be so much better than the time wasted preparing for college. Wait, I’m not saying that college isn’t important, but please, for the love of everything Nirvana, stay in an extra year. I wish I had gotten to go on that trip…

Speaking of trips, wasn’t New York amazing? You’ll be telling stories from that trip for the rest of your life. That was such an incredible experience. Please add to it and stay in choir another year. Ok ok, I’ll drop it.

You’re probably getting bored of this letter and I bet there’s an episode of The X-Files getting ready to start or something. Oh hey thanks for recording all those episodes on the VCR. Those tapes really came in handy when I was about twenty-one or so. Just wait until you see how people record TV shows and movies today!

Keep on being the cool kid you are right now. Yes I said cool. You don’t think you’re cool but you are and you helped me be who I am today. Remember about choir and keep hanging on to those morals of yours; they get you through a lot. Mom is going to talk to you about drinking. Pay attention ok? Don’t change what you do with that information, but it becomes very valuable when you’re twenty-six. Thanks. I think that’s about all I have. I wish I could go back in time and give you a hug. Get ready for the crazy ride the next twenty years will take you on. You’ll be amazed when you sit here and write this letter to yourself, amazed at what you’ve been through and survived. Enjoy it, none of your books could have written it any better!

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – I still refuse to step foot inside The Gap. Oh, and I love baseball. No seriously. Ok, you’ll believe it in about seventeen years or so.

5 Comments

Filed under apple Inc, baseball, cats, Combat, family, gratitude, Jayden, letters, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, proud geek, sobriety, twitter me this

Hanging with Ro Episode 12 – Apple Style

So this episode is all Apple. I’m just showing some new features to some people who were curious and I enjoy doing this stuff. I’m a geek haha. It’s about thirty minutes or so.

Topics include:

*iOS 6

*iPhone 4

*Magic Bullet speaker

*Emeel Salem

*Random stuff

Hope you enjoy!

Episode 12

Uh oh, I’ve got the new Blogger interface. I think I’ll be able to post, crossing fingers.

Leave a Comment

Filed under apple Inc, emeel salem, hanging with ro, iPhone, proud geek, twitter me this, Voiceover

A post with thoughts and links and stuff

As I was reading Twitter this morning I opened a lot of links. Some days there is just some really good stuff being tweeted and today was one of those days for me. I started thinking I might get a blog post out of it all and decided I’d write it up after the Rays game. The game ended up going to extras and lasting five hours before the Rays lost in heartbreaking fashion. I’m not sure but I think I ended up with one or two more links to discuss because the game was so long. Day games tend to mess me up during the week so you can imagine what a long extra innings game does.

I took care of some phone calls and then sat down to write. I went into Safari history and started pulling up all the sites I want to link to. As I was doing it I thought, Safari is gonna freeze. Ok, it’s gonna freeze when I pull this one up. Ok, maybe I should write the post and grab the links as I go. Oh, but so far so good, open up one more. Busy. Busy. Busy. Darn. So now I’m going one page at a time. Happy, Safari?

About a year or so ago, I got a new follower on Twitter. I checked out her bio and was curious about why she followed me. At the time she was a writer for the New York Post I think it was. She followed a ton of people and had even more followers. I checked out her timeline and was intrigued so I followed back. I’ve had a few quick Twitter conversations with Mandy Stadtmiller and she’s definitely one I enjoy following.

If you’ve read here recently you’ll know that I’ve been in a pretty deep depression. It is slowly lifting but it’s definitely not gone. This morning Mandy wrote 50 Reasons Not To Kill Yourself. I really enjoyed this and related and felt not alone. Go check it out, and see if you spot anyone you “know”. You never know when the things you tweet might end up in an article somewhere.

Another link that caught my attention was Is Pirating Books Ever OK? The article mentions people who pirate digital copies of books they own in print. They reason that they have already paid for the book once, so why should they have to pay for it again? No one is going to scan in every page of their print book just to get a digital copy. One of the arguments mentioned was that people burn their CDs to put on their iPods, so how is pirating digital books any different?

I’m really not sure how I feel about this. Honestly my first thought was, all that money I spent replacing all my Harry Potter books. I think two of them were gifted to me but I can’t even begin to think how much those seven books cost on CD. That was back before I discovered Audible. I think I finally got wise at some point and bought two of the books on CD from Amazon, but by the logic of this article, I could have pirated those books and felt ok with it since I had all the books in print form before going blind.

I also recently read tweets by a couple of authors I like discussing their books going on sale for Kindle. One author’s book was on sale for $1.99. To me that was insulting. That’s not much better than just having the book pirated. To me it’s like leaving a server a five cent tip when the service has been dreadful. That gets more of a point across than no tip at all.

Also, what if a book is only available for purchase in abridged format when the author’s original work is available untouched, but not for sale? I’m not sure that happens in formats other than audio, but it’s food for thought. I’m all for authors and writers earning money for their hard work. I am more than happy to pay for books I want but I’m not paying for abridged books. I think in some situations, pirating isn’t a bad word. Regardless though, please support your writers when you can.

Speaking of books, I loved this article about the husband of E.L. James, writer of the Fifty Shades trilogy. It’s really interesting to hear about the phenomenon from the man who is “not Christian Grey”, who helped his wife with editing and who decided to follow his own dream and write a book as well. I’m curious about his book since he helped James with editing and I said I wanted to edit the heck out of it when I reviewed it here.

While I was reading the trilogy I discussed the music in the books with a friend also reading them. I know one of us mentioned wanting to hear the music and the other said there must be a list somewhere online. I don’t think either of us ever looked. Never fear, iTunes is here! That album has classical pieces from the book. I cracked up when I read some of the reviews on that page. People are acting insulted that these beautiful pieces are being lumped in with such smut haha! Hmmm, how about capitalizing on something that is raking in the dough? How bout exposing people to music they might never have checked out otherwise? I love it. I just love the contempt prior to investigation and the judging people do of these books. I can say that because I was one of those people before my friend practically tied my hands behind my back and made me read them. I might just download that album. I love classical music so why not?

I’m not sure how to transition from Fifty Shades to Apple so I’ll just jump right into these next few links. Unless you don’t read any kind of social networks and probably not even blogs or anything on the internet, you’ll know that Apple just revealed the iPhone 5 yesterday. I followed the event on Twitter just because I was already reading Twitter at the time. Sure the phone sounds cool but if I were to get it, my Otterbox case wouldn’t fit it. No, that isn’t the only reason I’m not gonna run to the iPhone 5 but it’s part of it. The new design is a taller and thinner model. Taller and thinner model? I swear I didn’t have that sentence in my head before it just came out but it’s pretty funny. Ok so anyway, all the accessories I have for my iPhone 4 won’t work with it. Although really that’s just my Otterbox, since I can no longer use my docking speaker with my phone since putting the case on it. I use my iPod with the docking speaker in my room for books now. I digress…the main reason I’m not getting it is I can’t afford it and I like my iPhone 4.

Twitter was rather fun yesterday with everyone discussing the phone, the people contemplating running out to get it, the people lamenting not being able to get it since they weren’t up for an upgrade etc etc. I sat back, happy with my iPhone 4 and wondering what will be in the upgrade I do get in a few years.

There can be a lot of pressure from fellow iThing users. You’re not going to upgrade? Really? Why not? I actually got into bit of a tiff on Twitter when I waited awhile to update to iOS 5. I didn’t feel the need at the time and had heard the update was buggy. So I waited. I finally updated to get people off my back about it and because there was an app that wouldn’t update without iOS 5. iOS 6 is coming out soon and I plan to wait on that as well. Maybe not as long, but I’m not gonna wait for a really long download time while everyone else is getting it. I’m content to let everyone flock to the App Store and I’ll grab it after the crowds subside.

I’m guessing the poster of this post on AppleVis was feeling the same pressure but it did make me laugh, especially the replies. One commenter pointed out that the law requiring one to upgrade their iPhone has not yet been passed. Perhaps those pressuring people to upgrade should read this article about getting off the upgrade treadmill. I don’t really know anyone who fits the type of person described in that but I do know of some people who like to hurry and get their hands on shiny new tech immediately. While I roll my eyes at them I have to admit that part of me is also jealous at their ability to afford to get on the preorder list haha! I’m currently saving for a new Macbook and this article helped me know my decision was the right one. I’m not upgrading just to upgrade, I’m doing it because I want the accessibility features in Mountain Lion and my Macbook won’t run it.

I think I fall somewhere in between people who use majorly outdated stuff and those who have to have the latest and greatest. When it comes to apps I have to dive right in, for sure. I was shocked recently when a friend who got an iPhone didn’t immediately start playing with Fleksy when he downloaded the trial version of the typing app. This leads me to the last thing I wanted to share. This article explains more about how Fleksy came into being. I didn’t know that the developers originally wanted to improve on auto correct and eventually developed the amazing typing application that has blind iPhone users singing their praises. Since I began using Fleksy to type on my iPhone, I started using my phone so much more for other things. Knowing I wouldn’t have to expel so much mental energy to type a tweet if I wanted to reply, I began reading Twitter on my phone more often. Using Fleksy has made me more confident with the on screen keyboard, so entering usernames and passwords isn’t nearly as daunting as it was before. Basically, I got Fleksy so I could type faster but the result has been that I use my phone much, much more, making the money I spend on it totally worth it. Before all I ever really did on it was make calls and listen to baseball games. So I really enjoyed the above linked article! I have a feeling that company is going to go far.

So, those were the thoughts I had today after opening those links. I certainly didn’t expect to still be writing this post at 5:30pm. The Rays game was not supposed to last five hours! I suppose I’ll go edit now and see if this monster turned out interesting at all.

So speaking of auto correct, the word “suppose” there at the end was corrected to “supple”. No computer, I was done writing about Fifty Shades.

30

Leave a Comment

Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, Audio books, baseball, cool product, iPhone, mental health, music, plugs, proud geek, twitter me this

Book thirty-five in 2012 – “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks

Ok, this book really should have been read by Ben Stine. More commonly known as the “Bueller? Bueller?” guy or the Clear Eyes guy. He also had a fun trivia show for awhile. Instead this book was narrated by a British fellow, which didn’t help keep my mind from wandering. Not to say that all British fellows sound boring, just listen to Hugh Laurie, but this guy brought no kind of enthusiasm to the book whatsoever. When this guy was hired for the job of narrator, I wonder if he was asked if he liked science. Like at all. Or maybe the publishers were going for a pretentious and boring sound. Stereotype science much? Oh! Oh! They should have gotten Wil Wheaton to read this! Yes, I think the best part of this book is trying to figure out who should have read it. Oops, did I just type cast Wil Wheaton? If they wanted British, they should have gotten Patrick Stewart. Oh, there I go type casting again. Shall we engage ?

Sometimes Audible sends really cool offers in the email. (Pssst, hey Audible, can you send another three credits for the price of two offer? Thanks.) This was the second BoGo sale I’ve participated in. The other one is the reason I got that brain book and the dog book and I loved both of them. It seems that if you have a credit sitting in your account, Audible offers you a BoGo. I wasn’t going to partake since I already had a few books in the cue to read but they sent another email letting me know that “The Poet” by Michael connelly was part of the sale. Score! I went and browsed the other books available and this one caught my attention.

I love science. I love mysteries. This book sounded perfect and after that brain book I loved, I thought maybe this one would be like that. Parts of it was like that. There were chapters that involved biology and that’s my love. Other chapters dealt with outer space and theories that don’t make much sense to me. (Warp speed! Engage, Mr. Crusher.) I think better narration would have made those chapters less mind wanderingly dull. Oh! My high school Physics teacher would have made it great if he’d read it, especially if he had been allowed to add his verbal sound effects. I miss that man.

I enjoyed the chapters on free will, the Placebo Effect, Homeopathy. I’m trying to remember other chapters. Honestly the whole book kind of mushed together. Each chapter discussed a mystery and later in the book “mystery” was changed to “anomaly”. Or perhaps it didn’t. Maybe the word anomaly was used throughout the entire book and I just forgot. Honestly I wish the whole book had been like the prologue, where the author described three Nobel laureates trying to figure out how an old elevator worked. It was funny! Then, the chapters began. I think the only fact I retained was that low magnesium can cause anxiety like symptoms. Oh and the stuff about water was kinda cool. It explained why ice floats. Did you know that if water molecules didn’t expand when they freeze, the ice caps would be on the bottom of the sea? Yeah, rad huh. Rad? Hey, this is how you make science fun, ok?

Last night didn’t help matters since I finally got my hands on a Connelly book I’ve been searching for. I just wanted the darned science book to end already. Finally it did. Engage the Connelly book Mr. Crusher!

And now we’re caught up on the books. Man I hope Blogger doesn’t totally die because then this would be the last book review here at the Roof. Ok, I’m going to cross my fingers now, ready brain?

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30. “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” – Michael Connelly – Finished 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, proud geek

Fleksy App for iOS

I just got the Fleksy App a few hours ago after following its development on Twitter for a couple months now. This app is amazing! I was so blown away by it that when people expressed some confusion on Twitter, I went and recorded a quick demo of it, having no real experience with the app aside from what I read from the developer’s instructions. I also had the beginnings of what is turning into a monster migraine, so when I say, “it’s so not user error”, it um, really was user error for the most part haha!

This app is incredible! Oh yeah, it’s for iOS devices. Click the link above for the the iTunes store page. Ok, I’m gonna go nurse this migraine and listen to some baseball, if that’s possible.

Direct youtube link

1 Comment

Filed under apple Inc, iPhone, iTunes, proud geek, twitter me this, youtube

Book twenty-six in 2012 – “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” by Norman Doidge

This book was so incredible! I never would have stumbled upon it if it weren’t for Audible and their buy one get one sale. I got an email from them letting me know that since I had a credit sitting in my account, I could use it and get two books for the price of one. I was disappointed to find I could only pick from a certain list of books and almost didn’t take advantage of it. Luckily as I was browsing, the title of this one caught my attention. When I read the description, I was sold.

This book wouldn’t be for everyone. I love science and medicine though, so it was right up my alley. I never knew so much about brain chemistry. I knew the basics, but this book goes very in depth about how the brain works. It’s written in a way a lay person can understand and it was just riveting.

There are stories about people with traumatic brain injury and the doctors who treated them, how they were taught to rewire their brains. We’ve all heard of that term, rewiring, when it comes to the brain but this book explains what it actually means and how it’s done. It discusses the experiments that prove the brain is elastic and can change.

I read story after story about people who have had parts of their brain take over for damaged parts and I kept waiting for a story about a damaged optic nerve haha! The book referenced the blind many times, but it didn’t talk about anyone suddenly teaching another part of their brain to help them see. It instead talked about how our sense of touch lights up the visual cortex of the brain, which I knew, but was happy to learn even more about just how that happens.

I was in nerd heaven while I read this. And I found myself more tired during the day after reading this book at night. There was so much information to process, I think it actually wore me out! How cool is that??? I just love learning. When I talked to Carol I kept referencing the book. Well the brain book explains that this way…

Oh and the narrator didn’t sound bored while reading this one like the narrator of the car book. I was sad when this one was over. I’m glad I took a chance on this bogo sale, that’s for sure!

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, proud geek