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Laptop at the Maroon Bells

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I brought the laptop to the Maroon Bells wilderness area. Mainly, I just wanted it handy because of the story going to press that afternoon. What if there were last-minute questions? I drove my brother's Mustang convertible up the winding road, through the aspen groves and evergreens, to the head of the valley, where a glacial lake sits beneath the pyramid peaks. And what I suddenly beheld was a scene of pure terror: No bars. No bars on my cellphone!

Which meant no bars on the Aircard! So the laptop was useless cargo.

I couldn't leave it in the car, so I carried it with me as we walked up the trail a ways. But the thought of having no bars kept nagging at me, and I finally told Kevin: "We gotta get out of here."

So we raced back to town. Sure enough, as soon as I had bars again there was the telltale beep of a message from the office. Bosses needed changes to story. Had I read the e-mails? No, um, I hadn't, cause I was in the wilderness. I managed to get back online and fix everything, but it was a close call.

That was Saturday. Yesterday I went cold turkey, practically, and only checked e-mail about six times.

Clearly I need to read "Hamlet's Blackberry" pronto!

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 26, 2010; 9:29 AM ET
 
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Comments

First? just been mudged

Posted by: bh72 | July 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

We are on enforced cold-turkey in the ScienceAbode: the transformer for the cable modem is, kind of, melted. New unit is due to arrive tomorrow.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 26, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

One of the charms of being in certain high locations around the edges of Wyoming's Bighorn Basin was that radio contact with the office was feasible, perhaps at the expense of climbing a hill.

A local FM station owner loved that his station could actually be picked up in parts of Yellowstone National Park. Now with Sirius and such....

Once, when waiting for Old Faithful, I eavesdropped on a loud guy who was whining about the lack of a proper four-lane expressway from Jackson.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 26, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The horror! Oh the horror! I feel for you, Joel. Glad it turned out okay.

Yay for SonofG! If he's working at Midtown, are his classes on the main campus? An easy walk; I used to do it on my lunch hour when I worked at the college.

Posted by: slyness | July 26, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I learned the value of a surge suppressor the hard way too Science Tim. I fried one last year when a tree fell on the power line but the 'puter and associated harware plugged in it were saved.

The Maroon Bells site Joel is linking to offer safety tips on Water Bourne Illness. He may be the lost half-brother to Jason.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 26, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Here's a sentence from an article about Charlie Rangel in the New York Times:

There are several other serious questions about his behavior, but none involve the kinds of personal spoils that boodler dreams are made of.

I'm not sure what to make of boodler in that sentence. Do we have the term trademarked by any chance?

Posted by: -pj- | July 26, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh my. I am still feeling a bit lightheaded from this harrowing tale. (And here I thought Maroon referred to a color.) Sure, bears and wolves and other predators way up there on the food chain are worrisome. But to be in a Dead Zone in the Age of Information? Heck, you might as well have broken out the stone knives and went hunting for slow-moving Marmots.

For, yeah verily, I know the panic of which Joel speaks. I do not carry a cellphone at work. My link to the outside world is a good old-fashioned one way pager. Periodically I will forget to change the batteries and discover that I am incommunicado. At such moments I am gripped by The Fear. The cold, cold merciless fear. Because it isn't my employer who can't reach me.

It's my wife.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 26, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The surge suppressor seems to have some of its circuits blow, but not all. Were there storms in Howard County on Saturday night? I thought it was all on Sunday, but our transformer was blown long before that.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 26, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I've been in the Maroon Bells area several times and it is fantastically beautiful. But where do they get off saying this on their site? "The Maroon Bells are the most photographed peaks in all of North America." I call foul on that.

And I feel sad that Joel had to forfeit that splendor for a lack of bars - the incommunicado variety, I mean. Lord knows there are enough bars in Aspen. I highly recommend the Jerome.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I really like that Achenbach and Hilzenrath article. (Plus, "Achenbach and Hilzenrath" just has a nice ring to it.)

Like many, I originally felt that this disaster was a result of some single act of incompetence. The truth, unsurprisingly, is clearly much more complicated.

This notion of "disaster by a thousand cuts" goes back to the thesis that I keep returning to: The oil industry is working in an environment that they simply don't understand well enough.

My father once described a jet he worked on as a "sportscar" because the thing had far more power than was strictly necessary. But because aeronautical science was still emerging, the engineers had overbuilt from an overabundance of caution.

Another example is the Empire State Building which is probably twice as strong as necessary because the engineers approached the problem with proper respect for uncertainty.

And that's what it comes down to, it seems to me. BP and company failed to give this environment the respect it is due.

I mean, when you fully and completely understand something, then you can safely cut your margins. But when you don't understand something well, hubris is your greatest enemy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 26, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I sent a notice to the webmaster about the "Water Bourne Illness" header, which is present in several corresponding places (although not in all, oddly) on the White River site. I hope you didn't all send notices, too. The webmaster will wonder what the heck is up with all of the proofreaders descending upon his site.

Posted by: bobsewell | July 26, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A pride of proofreaders?

A pecadillo of proofreaders?

A procession of proofreaders?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

A correction of proofreaders?
An en of proofreaders?

Posted by: -dbG- | July 26, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

A spoof of proofreaders?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

A red tide of proofreaders

A groop of proofreaders

On disasters, I had a gift card that I used buying the series From the Earth to the Moon. I just finished #3 which focussed on the Apollo 1 fire. Interesting episode - so glad I bought this series.

Posted by: engelmann | July 26, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

RD - A lot of folks don't remember that the Empire State Building was also victim to an airplane crash. Sometime in the early 1950's, a B-25 medium bomber crashed into the building at about the 70th floor. The building withstood the impact surprisingly well.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 26, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My muse is speaking...

a pissant of proofreaders?

a refudiation of proofreaders?

a proctology of proofreaders?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

All I know is it should be a fetch of Labrador retrievers and a pompousity of professors (present company excluded).

Posted by: -dbG- | July 26, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Quick drive by - Congrats to Son of G.

I read the other day that up here they are considering WiFi for some of the provincial camp grounds - says a lot about where we are as a society now, great to go experience the woods, nature but we need email!

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I learned to refer to a college of professors-- at least, for the ones whom I like.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

DIY tatts?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10713587

"If it is cheap and cheerful, it is going to be nasty," says Andrew Griffiths from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Words to live by, say I.

Posted by: kguy1 | July 26, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

A mooch of proofreaders. alt: splive

"This is what I think is affecting those current writers of the thesis - you've read it - that computers and the internet are making us unfocused. I don't think so. No, I think we are witnessing newbies, newcomers to the internet, getting lost. Who are they? Why are they late?"
from:
http://jumpersbloghouse.blogspot.com/2010/07/value-of-retrograde-motion.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 26, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

If Achenbach and Hilzenrath
Met Rosencrantz and Guildenstern . . . . .*

Maybe Joel *should* read Hamlet's Blackberry.


*take it away ye boodler versifiers

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Hm, who's Hilzenrath?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Some truly appalling pet pictures.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-bender/13-of-the-most-awkward-fa_b_657184.html#s118039

have to say, I find the last one funny (Barley). Is that so wrong?

Posted by: -dbG- | July 26, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey, those pictures would make any family happy.. unless they were put out on the internet for others to snicker at.

These pictures show... personality. If not artistic genius. All that's missing from those pictures are funny little hats for both pets and humans.

But then, what picture wouldn't be improved by a toque?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, Hilzenrath co-wrote/shared the biline with Joel in yesterday's story on the federal panel looking into the oil spill.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/24/AR2010072402594_2.html?sid=ST2010072305432

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not in a parody mood at the moment, more's the pity.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Since I am not so nice I have to say, people voluntarily sent in those picture, can't even venture a guess as to why most of them were taken in the first place. I love my dog but I have not desire to match my outfits to him.

And what was this guy thinkng.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-bender/13-of-the-most-awkward-fa_b_657184.html#s118026

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

OMFSM, the snake! I would freak out, myself!

Posted by: slyness | July 26, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I will also comment that most of those seem to have been taken in the 70's or early 80's. Except for the pig, those pigs were a fad near 1990 if I remember.

Now, the scariest for me is the "kitty fig leaf" photo.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I checked back at the original site.

I found this lap dog pic.

http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2010/01/17/101-lap-dogs/

And this most meta-redneck picture.

http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2009/07/06/playing-possum/

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Now normally I would say that those fat cats need to go on a diet, but in this case I'd say "Bigger, bigger, please make them bigger!"

Posted by: kguy1 | July 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Especially Adam, Wilbrod! The four-little-white-dogs-and-family spooked me more than the snake, slyness, but I love frogs and toads so I have no room to talk.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Will backboodle later (hah! like anyone believes that!) but can report, still no power in my neighborhood (eastern MoCo), though the library is up and running (and crowded!) hence my very brief presence here...

Big trees down, not exactly "all over the place" but a surprisingly large number of them in any case. Eastern white pine prone to busting up, and some of the big tulip trees, aka yellow poplar, have fallen right over, roots showing.

Posted by: woofin | July 26, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and for more... http://awkwardfamilypetphotos.com/

I like Pet-a-likes: the longest stare (afghan hound and woman), and the big raccoon picture.
Also "There is a Horse in the Living Room."
And a few more, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Since animals are on topic I should mention we lost younger daughters pet hamster yesterday, there is now, in the front of our house a sweet little tombstone and decorations for "Oreo, a good hamster".

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Oreo is a great name for a hamster.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Got any awkward photos of Oreo to immortalize him with?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Yep, and it's a great name for a Hampshire, too.

http://www.eliteswineinc.com/images/2008/07-24/DSC00097.jpg

Posted by: kguy1 | July 26, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

No pictures, but I will take one of the tombstone, it is made of cardboard so will only last til the next rain. The scattered hydrangea petal were an especially nice touch.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Definitely an Oreo kind of sow there. I once saw piglet races at the state fair in Portland, OR, and all those piglets were sprinting to be the first to get oreos out of the trough.

Maybe THAT'S what's missing from school fitness programs (j/k).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, DMD. Great circle of life in your very yard.

A dog that I loved for six months was named CaddyWhompus. Did you know that a chihuahua-lady and a scruffy 80+ lb black schnauzer boy can connect in that special way?

I witnessed that day and the one weeks later when three puppies were born. The lady-doggy belonged to a neighbor. I helped deliver those huge pups, which were promptly rejected. The two wee-ist of puppies died almost immediately. CaddyWhompus survived at our house because the seven children took duty shifts feeding him Enfamil 'round the clock. He was very confused about where he lived, though, which meant he crossed the street one too many times....And, I saw that day also.

Caddy (Puppy) Whompus -- one of the good dogs!

----
I find myself wanting one of those constant contact machines, like an uber-tricked out phone-brick OR a net book....not sure this yen to connect all the time is good for me though.

I have now seen this: a mp3 player that lap swimmers use.....so, you can dolphin-groove to your tunes....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 26, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The pics, very cute, and in the picture she drew you will get a hint at what she thought (my daughter) was the cause of death.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

a pencil of proofreaders

Posted by: -TBG- | July 26, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

D'oh, too much sun today, the pics, and also note - Duct tape!

http://picasaweb.google.ca/dmd2921/Oreo#

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

TBG!!!!!!! Perfect.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 26, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon giggle, who says crime pays.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/840328--crook-tries-to-rob-restaurant-where-two-cops-among-customers

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, I needed a good cry and a good laugh all at the same time today.

RIP Oreo.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I just introduced my mom to the idea that radish greens are edible and can be cooked, and radishes too, but that radish greens have a kick similar to radishes and may be best cooked in junior portions to other veggies.

The nice thing about cooking is that one is never too old to learn something new about it.

I liked the saute I did, of course-- I like mustard and turnip greens and those are quite close in quality (although they are much more coarse raw).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

A hint to the cause of death... hmm. Diarrhea? Love?

My hamster died at 18 months old or so. Showed her to the vet once and he said, "I don't know much about hamsters, really."

Nobody knows the hamster, really.

Perhaps there is not much there to know, except the mystery of life at its most raw, cuddly, cute, and short. RIP Oreo.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and DMD, Just FYI, CPDotII and her darling own true love share a hamster qua child. Little furry kiwi fat) fruit-creature grew a huge tummy tumor. Our gentle vet removed the tumor and the hamster qua my grandchild lives to turn the night wheel even this week.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 26, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Aw. Vets that know hamsters now. How old is the fuzzy squeaking kiwi?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't resist.

http://ailsaweb.com/pix/hamham%20the%20hamster.jpg

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm back!

The power came back on between 4:30 and 5 pm.

At least the weather was not as hot and humid as it has been.

Moosecat seems to have survived the ordeal unscathed. Although she did keep staring at the vents as if wondering where the air was.

The real downside is that I now must restock my refrigerator (which I stocked just yesterday morning). Sigh.

I hope all Boodlers made it through the storm relatively unscathed.

Posted by: Moose13 | July 26, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Congrats on your employment, SonofG.
One (more) day down, 12,500 to go, more or less.

Given my lycanthropy, I should refrain from commenting on Oreo specifically; hamsters or small animals in general.

No good could come from that.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 26, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

A moment of anger. Unstoppable forces set in motion. Now, all hell breaks loose.
Serenity - now?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKI_q6MsTxM

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 26, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

DMD-So sorry about Oreo.

SonofG-Congrats on being employed!

I would love to be at Maroon Bells right now. I really miss the mountains in summer!

(Talitha, I'm originally from Colorado :o) )

Posted by: Moose13 | July 26, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

talitha, we have just returned from purchasing the replacement for Oreo, and he looks just like that photo - and has been christened Zeus.

Without a lecture from anyone about the evils of puppies at pet stores, can I just say how cute the puppies where especially one chocolate lab, one bernese mountain dog that completely stole my heart and a couple of labradoodles that were precious.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Moose, mind divulging city/town/vicinity? I've been pitiful in my homesickness for the Centennial State this summer.

Glad you and all stormstruck boodlers seem to have emerged from last evening's mayhem. I hadn't realized until your reports that so much damage had occured.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Puppies in pet stores
Are fun when on leash and watching
bunnies and hamsters.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Thornton (NE Denver Metro Area)

Now I'm really considering upgrading my cell phone to a smart phone. I do not like Boodle absences beyond my control.

Posted by: Moose13 | July 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

On another note, I had some trouble with my ancient Gutenberg signature edition cell phone on Saturday, and was temporarily unable to retrieve or send text messages.

Thought to myself, "My kids will never talk to me again. Evar!"

Fortunately, I stayed calm - despite the yammerings of Panic and Havoc rising from my subconscious - focused and sussed the problem out, then took the phone apart and removed the Pocket Lint of Doom that was short circuiting a keypad button.

It works, thank goodness.

I think my neighbors mistook my sigh of relief for the a/c kicking on.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 26, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of attending the game for your favorite team and grabbing a bite to eat while there, might want to look at this first.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=5401646

Posted by: dmd3 | July 26, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

dmd, glad I just watch sports on TV, altho' Gillette stadium got a perfect score, if only I could afford to go there!

Nice weather all day here. Sorry to hear about the storm damage and electrical outages to the south. We haven't had a good old fashioned noisy t-storm all summer, just a few wimpy ones. :-(

Posted by: badsneakers | July 26, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the varying scores have more to do with the thoroughness of the inspectors than the cleanliness of the venues.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

You made me laugh, bc. I just got a new cell with a pop-out qwerty keyboard to facilitate texting with my kids lest I be completely cut-off from them. They are very kind and indulgent, sometimes call me, but much prefer texts.

Posted by: Yoki | July 26, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

So far I haven't sprung for a texting plan, just pay the 20 cents per, but I foresee a time when that just won't do. I got the phone with the lovely qwerty keypad and am improving in my ability to type with my thumbs. Mr. T bought the $10 phone and hasn't been happy with it. He would love to get a smartphone but doesn't want to spend the money on an upgraded plan. So there we are.

Posted by: slyness | July 26, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I broke down and bought a pre-paid cell phone. As I told my younger co-workers who texted me, my phone is capable of texting, but I am not.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 26, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I know whatcha mean, Yoki.

When one of my kids actually calls rather than texts, I know Something's up:

Something's wrong, or there's Something they want (often - but not always - spelled '$omething').

Sometimes, both.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 26, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Agree, Moose 13--Colorado is so beautiful in summer. One reason it is hard to leave although I think about that in February and March.

Yoki, texting works better with my oldest son. But he's not a big talker like my younger son, who answers my phone call most of the time. Hey, he's in politics.

Dmd3...condolences. );

It was a beautiful day here in the New York countryside. But this routine really isn't glamorous just so ya know. Kind of like having to ignore the high country scenery whilst searching for bars. Geesh.

Posted by: Windy3 | July 26, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I do not text. I get emails and calls from the daughters. Altho' tonight "S" got a thank you text from #2 because he went by her house and replaced a doorknob for her. The dogs were his only audience. Apparently they weren't impressed as they didn't send him a text ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | July 26, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Don't leave peanut butter in your car around bears.

http://www.theawl.com/2010/07/bear-takes-a-short-ride-in-a-fast-machine

And this bear didn't make it to the woods in time.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

That reminds me, I was talking about how my truck was set up for emergency breakdowns in the middle of nowhere and a friend suggested I keep emergency rations in my truck, and I said no way.

"Bears."

I'm sure c-rations are so sealed that a bear would never know they were food, but unless I see proof of bear-proof emergency rations, I'm not buying.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 26, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

He didn't make it to the woods in time, yello, and they pixelated the poop! Did they think viewers would be offended?

Posted by: -TBG- | July 26, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I have never owned a cellphone of my own, though I borrow mister's if I'm on a trip alone. That's about to change because I promised my son I'd get one for safety's sake. I despise talking on the phone and know I'll never be a texter beyond what's convenient. I still write letters, use email and don't think I could live without the laptop anymore, though.

I'm not a Luddite by any means but just don't need constant contact that much, I suppose. What can you expect from someone who'd rather be knitting?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for interrupting the flow there. Is bear carjacking covered by insurance?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 26, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

They do rather go hand-in-hand, don't they? The something wrong and $omething needed.

Posted by: Yoki | July 26, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, slyness... if you and Mr T decide you need new phones, you know where to go!

:-)

As far as talking vs texting goes, there's nothing better than a well-phrased text to get your kid to call you.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 26, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

And congrats to SofG for re-joining the ranks of the wage slaves. Why this is an accomplishment, I don't quite know. I've been trying for 30 years to get out of said ranks.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I too, really hate the telephone. But I am a busy emailer.

Have a prepaid cell phone which paid for itself almost the week I got it, by letting me call AAA when my car battery died. I felt up-to-date, clever, and oh so very happy that I didn't have to try to find a "real" telephone!

Posted by: nellie4 | July 26, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I finally broke down and got a shoephone for myself. I quickly realized that the only keyboard I could use, beside the one I tried on a brick-sized manly crackberry, was the virtual keypad of a smart phone. So I am the proud owner of a 'droid phone that is smarter than me.
I have two texting kids and one e-mailing kid. They were raised together roughly in the same way I don't know what made them different. One day the Genome projet will identify the Texting Gene. The kids laugh openly at my texts. Using capital letters at the start of a sentence, long words, prepositions, apostrophes and conjugating verbs is cause for endless chortling.

The apps for the smart phone are amazing though. As we were planning (well, less than a week in advance is planning in this house) next week's excellent adventures I surmised I would need to know the tides schedule around the Gaspé peninsula. No problem, there is an app for that. I can tell you the tide schedule in Borneo in February 2014.

Perusing the Daily Beast's 20 worst iPhone apps list I saw the Pull-my-finger app in there. After a bit of research I settled on the iFarted app instead. 15 standard sounds and you can record your own. I'm easily amused. I might record one of the VLP's epic snores.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 26, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

It's all about the Benjamins. Congrats to SonofG!

talitha, I was quite happy without a cell phone, but it did come in handy when I was wrangling Census workers. Except when I forgot to take it with me. The pre-paid phone works fine - good reception, for a cell phone - easy to add minutes. There definitely is a generational divide. I was explaining how I was talking to someone who had an African accent, and how it was hard for me to understand, partly because of the accent, and partly because I hate the quality of cell phones - echoey, talking over the other person, line drops. The younger folks looked at me like I was nuts.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 26, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Hah, shriek! Since I am not a native texter, I used to use full conjugation and grammer, and now the girls laugh at my what #2 calls "unconventional but extreme short-form *that we understand*." When one Dot is at the mall, "Wle @ drgstr, pls bi BlkCohsh. Tnks,M"

Posted by: Yoki | July 26, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting there Yoki but I'm not a natural. But at least they answer to texts and/or e=mails.
Voicemails? Meh.

I have no fear of the no bar. A good part of my house is a no-bar zone even if I can see a cell tower from one room of the house and another one from the end of the driveway.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 26, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

One of the reasons my dots don't answer voice-mails is that voice-call time is expensive, and they have no money, but texting is cheap. I'm fine with that. Young people should be poor.

Posted by: Yoki | July 26, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I just need a big keyboard. I got a slightly smaller one for the desktop pc a few months ago and still typo twice my normal rate. With a smaller one it would take me 5 minutes to write a three line email or "text."

The niece and her pals pride themselves on zero-defect, perfectly punctuated, un-abbreviated lightning fast texting. It's apparently like all-star pro championship ping pong or something, for them.

I do like having a captive audience with an email. I once dated someone who talked pretty much nonstop when she was awake. Email is my friend. It was the only way to get a word in. And remember "phone tag" which emails/texts have done much to eliminate. Never liked the phone tag.

And even person-to-person phone talk nowadays, although comforting and vastly aiding in communication, has lost something with the modern compression and filtration which removes certain ambient sounds from the signal. And today I was talking and my phone dropped the call 3 times in the middle of the conversation.

Scott Adams postulates on art of conversation"
http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/conversation/

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 27, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

But Jumper1, why would you date somebody who doesn't listen?

Posted by: Yoki | July 27, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Washington D.C. *FINALLY* wins another championship!!

"Verizon Center
Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals
Vendors with critical violations: 100%

Inspection report excerpt: Mice droppings, a critical violation in Washington, were found at at least 10 vendors."

Sweet!

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

This is why I always pack a picnic (but buy beer -- nearly incorruptible).

Posted by: Yoki | July 27, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Technically, though, I think those are "mouse droppings".

Unless D.C. mice have found the path to connubial crapping that eluded so many other species for so long.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Beer & roasted peanuts (in the shell) are probably (relatively) pretty safe.

But this is coming from a guy who has happily bought mystery meat tacos in a number of countries, and (literally) shoved tadpoles and algae aside to drink from shallow pools of water. Hey, you gotta die from something, right?

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm still puzzling over connubial.

Posted by: Yoki | July 27, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

OK, that was very loose usage. How about:

"...found the path to collusive crap concoction that eluded so many other species for so long."

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm certain rodents everywhere hope and believe it is possible in spite of the nearly-complete absence of hard or even anecdotal evidence.

Posted by: Yoki | July 27, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

My point is that some things you do alone. Other people or critters may be doing at the same time, and all around you. But when you crap, you crap alone.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Every turd is a unique creation, born (not "borne" or "Bourne", dammit!) of an individual effort.

The great phosphate mines are not heaping piles of "birds guano". They are, and are properly known to be, "bird guano". (Except when they're "bat guano".)

I've never heard anybody opine that either actual smelly stuff or verbal bloviation should be called bulls-shite. Nope, we pretty much always restrict ourselves to just the one bull.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm not worried about hurting the rodents' feelings (they're already aware this eternal eliminatory verity, I'm certain) but I was a little worried about how I was going to break it to the editors of the journalists at ESPN until I...

HOhohoheeheehahahahteehee... Man, almost hurt myself there!

Anyway, I'm sure they're not losing much sleep over it.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they wanted to be sure people didn't snicker over the image of computer mouse droppings.

As if.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 27, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

And as much as I love delving into the deep psychological and rhetorical implications of various biological functions, I really just meant to point out that one seldom hears or reads the term "mice droppings". Likewise, one seldom comes across the term "chickens droppings".

There nothing incorrect in either case, it's just not the standard usage. For whatever reason.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - You know, I can easily imagine that there are right now kids for whom that cognitive dissonance would come into play.

Interesting stuff, this language thing.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 27, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Courtesy Glen (pixelated) Campbell:

When you smile the whole world smiles with you
One end of your gut is a choral song
The other end is lonely and blue
When you crap you crap alone.

No, don't sit on the pot in misery
Though the last supper has done you wrong
Oh, what the gut has planned is sure to be
Yes, when you crap you crap alone.

But when you smile the whole world smiles with you
And bowel moves don't linger very long, very long
Yes, the bottom loves its solitude
When you crap you crap alone...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | July 27, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: brownhall24 | July 27, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Ah, JA, in reading the kit, I thought, just a few years back it wouldn't have been the fear of no bars, but the lack of a bathroom. Oh my, how technology has changed our fears and worries. We don't eat natural foods anymore, and now we've almost forgotten the most natural acts. It's a war! Great kit, and even better, food for thought.

Grandsons are here, and so is the g-girl. She texted me at the Center yesterday, and wanted me to pick her up, she wanted to come over. By the time I got off, she was knocked out.

The grandsons are getting so tall, and losing some of that weight. I tell you, it won't be long now, they're already in high school. And the war is still going.

They wanted me to cook a "Boston butt" for them. I bought a pretty big one, and this morning I can honestly say, it aint pretty. Boy did they do a job on that roast. I was talking making sandwiches later, but it will be a miracle if we can find a sandwich in there anywhere. LOL. Not complaining one bit because these guys have serious food issues, just happy I could find something they like!

The kids at the Center are going to a park near the mountains somewhere here in North Carolina. I hope to snatch just a minute of rest on the bus. It's only Tuesday but feels like Friday. I know I need to slow down, but it feels like somebody pushed the button "on", and I can't seem to turn it "off". Pray for me.

Have a wonderful day, folks, and know that in this very small part of the world, rural North Carolina, there's a country girl that loves the folks at the Achenblog!

Slyness, what you doing? Can you folks in Charlotte take the heat and do something with it? We don't want it anymore. Hope you're not missing the daughter too much, although I bet you are.

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 27, 2010 5:22 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Ah, JA, in reading the kit, I thought, just a few years back it wouldn't have been the fear of no bars, but the lack of a bathroom. Oh my, how technology has changed our fears and worries. We don't eat natural foods anymore, and now we've almost forgotten the most natural acts. It's a war! Great kit, and even better, food for thought.

Grandsons are here, and so is the g-girl. She texted me at the Center yesterday, and wanted me to pick her up, she wanted to come over. By the time I got off, she was knocked out.

The grandsons are getting so tall, and losing some of that weight. I tell you, it won't be long now, they're already in high school. And the war is still going.

They wanted me to cook a "Boston butt" for them. I bought a pretty big one, and this morning I can honestly say, it aint pretty. Boy did they do a job on that roast. I was talking making sandwiches later, but it will be a miracle if we can find a sandwich in there anywhere. LOL. Not complaining one bit because these guys have serious food issues, just happy I could find something they like!

The kids at the Center are going to a park near the mountains somewhere here in North Carolina. I hope to snatch just a minute of rest on the bus. It's only Tuesday but feels like Friday. I know I need to slow down, but it feels like somebody pushed the button "on", and I can't seem to turn it "off". Pray for me.

Have a wonderful day, folks, and know that in this very small part of the world, rural North Carolina, there's a country girl that loves the folks at the Achenblog!

Slyness, what you doing? Can you folks in Charlotte take the heat and do something with it? We don't want it anymore. Hope you're not missing the daughter too much, although I bet you are.

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 27, 2010 5:22 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Ah, JA, in reading the kit, I thought, just a few years back it wouldn't have been the fear of no bars, but the lack of a bathroom. Oh my, how technology has changed our fears and worries. We don't eat natural foods anymore, and now we've almost forgotten the most natural acts. It's a war! Great kit, and even better, food for thought.

Grandsons are here, and so is the g-girl. She texted me at the Center yesterday, and wanted me to pick her up, she wanted to come over. By the time I got off, she was knocked out.

The grandsons are getting so tall, and losing some of that weight. I tell you, it won't be long now, they're already in high school. And the war is still going.

They wanted me to cook a "Boston butt" for them. I bought a pretty big one, and this morning I can honestly say, it aint pretty. Boy did they do a job on that roast. I was talking making sandwiches later, but it will be a miracle if we can find a sandwich in there anywhere. LOL. Not complaining one bit because these guys have serious food issues, just happy I could find something they like!

The kids at the Center are going to a park near the mountains somewhere here in North Carolina. I hope to snatch just a minute of rest on the bus. It's only Tuesday but feels like Friday. I know I need to slow down, but it feels like somebody pushed the button "on", and I can't seem to turn it "off". Pray for me.

Have a wonderful day, folks, and know that in this very small part of the world, rural North Carolina, there's a country girl that loves the folks at the Achenblog!

Slyness, what you doing? Can you folks in Charlotte take the heat and do something with it? We don't want it anymore. Hope you're not missing the daughter too much, although I bet you are.

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 27, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

I am so sorry.

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 27, 2010 5:24 AM | Report abuse

No harm done, Casandra, we all love to hear/see what you have to say!

Good morning, you all. In keeping with the overnight boodle topic of sewage and such, we have done this to the Chesapeake Bay, and cannot blame it on an oil spill. It has been a long time since I have felt that I could eat anything from the Bay, much less swim in it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/26/AR2010072605203.html

Posted by: VintageLady | July 27, 2010 6:05 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't until I started frequenting places over-run with Canada geese that I truly understood the metaphor "as loose as a goose." They are truly far worse a health hazard than some pretzel nibbling rodent in a sports arena.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 27, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

And in astronomy news, the galaxy isn't big enough for this star:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20011648-501465.html

Posted by: yellojkt | July 27, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Poor Tony is going to have to get by on just 600,000 pounds a year now that they have taken away his job destroying the environment.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 27, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Trying to post -- wish me luck. . . .

I've been without power since 4:00 Sunday afternoon, and we're over at the mother of a friend's house (she's 88 and simply adorable, and I've promised her a *lavish* lunch out), where her power did not go out. Yesterday I brought my Mac over and connected it to her router. I can now get email but can't send it and my IM won't connect. Not good. She has Wi-Fi, but I must have access only to the Wi or the Fi but not both.

Alas.

Yoki, I tried to reply to your email, but nothing will send, so hold on while I figure out how to communicate.

The latest I've heard is tonight at midnight, tomorrow or Friday that the power will be back on. Already making a shopping list for that which will be thrown out. Luckily, the freezer stuff was still frozen when I went over to get it to bring it here. Milk will go, definitely, and chicken waiting to be cooked. A couple of other things will be tossed, too.

Such adventures.

BTW, if anyone has an idea of how to get my Mac fully functional on a Verizon router, when it's been so comfy on a Comcast box, please lemme know.

Posted by: ftb3 | July 27, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

'Morning everybody. I'm glad you have all your grandchildren with you Cassandra. Enjoy them and try not to overdo it with work. ftb, I am sorry to hear about your inconvenience. I wish I could help with your Mac problem but mine runs fine on a Verizon router, don't know why yours doesn't like it.

Another day without humidity. I'd forgotten how nice it is to be comfortable. It ought to make tennis this morning much more fun.

Posted by: badsneakers | July 27, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

*JUMPING UP AND DOWN AND WAVING*

Hey JA -- blogspam @ 4:25!!! :-)

And I'm glad the ed board had the guts to tell that WikiLeaks guy he's full of it:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/26/AR2010072604626.html

I mean really, comparing field reports (even several years' worth) to the Pentagon Papers? *eye roll*

And despite mechanical delays and tarmac-sitting, NukeSpouse is home!!! *happy dances*

*back-to-the-usual-routine-and-ain't-I-delighted-about-that Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 27, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Everyone.

Can't say I've ever texted, but I have led a sheltered life.

Years ago I used to keep Russian Dwarf Hamsters. These hamsters you can keep in a group without them chewing up each other as will Syrian hamsters. At one point I had seven (Get it?) RDHs in my office. Each morning I would put them into seven little hamster balls and let then roll around the office floor.

But I'm all better now.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 27, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Hi Cassandra, I'm ready for cooler weather! Glad to hear that you're enjoying the grandkids. Teenaged boys are stomachs on feet, aren't they? Amazing how much they can put away.

The problem with exercising at 0-dark 6 ayem is that *I* am the one who gets to walk through all the webs that the spiders have spun overnight. It's not enough to have cobwebs in the brain at that hour; nope, I gotta deal with the ones that span the sidewalk!

I hope everyone has a pleasant day!

Posted by: slyness | July 27, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hi-ho Hi-ho, it's hamsters on the go
A' rollin' round on RD's floor
Hi-ho Hi-ho Hi-ho

Good Tuesday to all. Cassandra, VL, and yello's early dispatches made for good reading. Hang in there, ftb - my sympathies on the fridge re-stock, etc.

Day Two of the great kitchen ceiling adventure finds EVERYTHING moved out or draped in plastic while sanding and painting proceed. What a dump!*
Take out for dinner is my only consolation.

The column on the Chesapeake is unsettling but not news, unfortunately. The Shenandoah Valley, along with all the other river systems, feeding so much sh*t for so long into the Bay is criminal. Farm and industrial runoff, lawncare poison and sewage, plastic bags wafting in air = sick bay. We know what some of the solutions are but I fear the public, the government and businesses will not swallow the bitter pill in the near future. *guilty sigh*

Ceeya.

*there's a Bette Davis movie on TCM so I couldn't resist.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 27, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Just heard from a friend at the condo, who told me that our power is back on! We'll probably head back tomorrow, though, as there's so much stuff to take back, and I just dropped him off at the metro. Besides, we're having fun here.

At least when I'm back, presumably (*ahem* . . . . *presumably*) I'll be technologically functional.

*snorting with pure glee in advance of clearing out what's left in the fridge that needs tossing, and glad I know where the baking soda is, so I can draw out any order left remaining*

Posted by: ftb3 | July 27, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Blame it on Arthur. Joel. Or actually, maybe not.
http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/07/i-told-you-so.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 27, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yoki -- a favor, please? If you don't mind, would you email me (as I *can* get incoming) with a telephone number where I may call you in Rockville? That's the only way we might be able to communicate until I'm re-set up back at the condo tomorrow.

Thanks, ever so.

Posted by: ftb3 | July 27, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Any of y'all seen this video about the folks in Venice LA dealing with the effects of the oil spill on their community?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/07/23/VI2010072305461.html?hpid=artslot

Posted by: talitha1 | July 27, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious as to what others think about the forthcoming expedition to explore the Titanic: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/27/AR2010072700581.html?hpid=moreheadlines

I see a lot of high-minded mention of "science", but I'm not clear as to exactly what science we're talking about. Forensics? Understanding models of how objects settle to the ocean bottom? Understanding how Titanic itself sank? Understanding how modern manufactured artifacts decay in these circumstances -- for the betterment of future archaeologists?

The immediate value to archaeology seems very small to me -- this is an historic site, so it's not like we don't already know a lot about it. Perhaps we should just leave the damned thing alone, for the benefit of future archaeologists (or paleontologists, maybe, if it's explored by the scientists of a successor species). To me, this all smalls a lot like grave-robbing. Perhaps we should dot the sites with historical information to assist those future scientists, and then just leave it alone.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 27, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

To make things worse: While you were out in the wilderness, the NYT was closing in on the Higgs boson beat!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/science/space/27higgs.html?8dpc

Posted by: plynch1 | July 27, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

*gasp*

New Kit!

Posted by: ftb3 | July 27, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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