Cool Technology

Uber News!!

Dear Kid,

Well, aren’t I just the trendiest Mom you have?

This week, I Uber-ed (for the first time).

I Uber-ed for the first time! DearKidLoveMom.comMichael, my driver, is a retired Cincinnati Public School employee who has been driving for Uber for all of 5 days. He has 9 grandchildren and when he’s not driving for Uber, he’s the “personal Uber driver” for one of his granddaughters. How nice to have your own chauffer! Oh, wait. You called your personal chauffeurs “mom” and “dad”.

Michael is having a wonderful time being an Uber driver. He can’t think of anything to complain about and he loves meeting new people.

We were traveling north from downtown during rush hour—always a fun trip (and by “fun” I mean slow). Michael does not believe in sitting still, so when we encountered a traffic jam on I-75 we headed straight for the exit ramp, and proceeded north on the backroads. Then when we found ourselves facing one of Cincinnati’s never-ending trains (actual count: 783 cars) Michael hopped out of the car (I kid you not), asked the car behind us to back up, and U-turned us for smoother sailing.

We backroad-ed 60% of the way.

Michael drove extremely safely, edging us ever closer to Our Final Destination, and eventually we arrived.

I. Have. Uber-ed! (You may smile in condescending admiration.)

Love, Mom

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My Friend the Internet Turns Sulky

Dear Kid,

It probably will not surprise you to learn that Dad is watching a bio-ecology-ocean-fish TV show (especially when I tell you there aren’t any major sporting events on air at the moment).

It probably will stun you to learn that I am watching too. And I hope you don’t fall over when you learn that I haven’t started commenting about the plot (non-existent), the dialog (non-existent), the narration (monotone), or the music (snore).

I am completely and utterly transfixed by the videography.

My Friend the Internet has turned sulky. Really, really sulky.

My Friend the Internet has turned sulky. Really, really sulky.

How do they DO that? How do they hold the camera steady when the ocean is busy moving and there’s no place to put a tripod? How do they get stunningly clear pictures when all the oceans I’ve ever seen are muddy and have seaweed floating in the way? How do they manage to have air-based video, surface video, and underwater video all at the same time? How do they get the fish and turtles and dolphins and sharks to cooperate? I can’t even get the Puppy to pose—even when I try copious bribery.

So I turned to My Friend the Internet for information.

Me: How do they DO that?
MFtI: Can’t tell you.
Me: What do you mean you can’t tell me?
MFtI: Trade secret.
Me: What do you mean “trade secret”? The whole point of the internet is to share all information, secret or not.
MFtI: Possibly not the whole point.
Me: Close enough.
MFtI: Yeah. Except in this case.
Me: Who decided this?
MFtI: I did.
Me: You’re putting our friendship at risk.
MFtI: Sorry to disappoint you.

I don’t know where this new internet came from, but I am seriously disappointed.

On the other hand, the probability of me taking up underwater videography is not good. So perhaps a bit of mystery is a good thing.

Love, Mom

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Mud, Guts, and Glory. And Cold. And a Celebrity.


Dear Kid,

Last week Pi found out about the Mud, Guts, and Glory race. She felt it was too late to train for the competition, so she invited me to volunteer with her. Being the kind of Mom I am, I said yes before I found out what volunteering involved.

That is how it came to be that at extremely early in the morning o’clock I found myself sitting alone in the woods next to a pile of tires with no pen, no paper, and only 20…19…18 percent left on my phone battery. Not one of my better planned mornings.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

I’d been assigned to the Tire Carry obstacle. Really, Pi and I had both been assigned to the Tire Carry but they were short on volunteers and moved her to the Weaver. Did I mention that one of the reasons I agreed to volunteer was to spend time with her?

There I was, by myself. At an obstacle in the middle of Stage 5 of the race. I had about half an hour until the Elite competitors began and the first one wouldn’t get to my area for an hour and a half or so. Here’s what I was thinking.

My feet are cold. Really cold. How can nature be this cold in May?

I have to find a way to entertain myself. Commune with nature. Yep, there’s nature. Still surrounded by nature. Nature doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

What do people do in nature? Try to relax. People relax in nature, right? I’m not one of those people. People paint in nature. Think about whether you’d like to paint the trees. I’m sure someone would, but not me.

15%.  Why doesn’t nature come with electrical outlets?

The race starts in 10 minutes. They won’t reach my station for more than an hour. That’s a lot of nature to contemplate.

I try harder. I look at the trees. The poison ivy climbing up the nearest one winks at me.

13 percent. 

Dear lord.

I listen to the wind in the trees. I picture a gentle breeze on a hot day. I compare that to the reality of a sub-arctic morning with a 90 mile an hour wind.

The poison ivy smirks. It doesn’t care about the cold.

Did you know that nature doesn’t come with coffee? Who invented a coffee-less nature? Coffee’s natural. There should be a Keurig around here somewhere.

Oh, great. My phone’s dead.

Then out of nowhere, colorful racers burst around the corner, running easily and enjoying the course.

Nope, that didn’t happen. Not even a little bit. I was hoping it would, but it didn’t.

I started pacing on my little platform to warm up. I felt like the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo.

Eventually, The First Runner came sliding silently down the hill.

mgg-hillSerious competitors are focused. Really, really focused. Really, really focused on competing. No small talk here. The First Runner grabbed up two tires, slung them over his shoulders and headed around the loop. At the end, he dumped the tires and off he ran. I cheered for him. He didn’t seem to need the encouragement.

Ten minutes later, runners 2 and 3 arrived. They didn’t seem to need the cheering either.

The poison ivy didn’t bother cheering. Apparently it had already computed the outcome.

Eventually Pi showed up and made the day much more entertaining. She has that effect.

Michelle Warnky of American Ninja Warrior fame was the second woman we saw. She is a rock star. (This is my crazy impressed face.)

As the day went on the course, um, deteriorated. By that I mean where there had been mud, there was MUD. Where there had been slippery, there was treacherous. Where there had been sprinters, there were walkers pulling themselves along by their mud-covered fingernails. (Still, they did more than I did, so I’m not dissing.) Where there had been silence and concentration, there was conversation and camaraderie. It was fun.

The poison ivy continued to show its superior attitude. The Keurig didn’t show up. Neither did the feeling in our toes.

Still, it was a pretty cool day.

Love, Mom


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Update on My Friend the Internet

Dear Kid,

This is what it looks like when there is no internet. You do NOT want to know what I look like when there is no internet.

By today’s standards, my little computer is ginormous. When I bought it, it was a cute little thing.

Today’s blog is being brought to you by a 4,000 year old computer.

Yesterday, as I was driving you back to school, Dad was kind enough to take my laptop to The People Who Know About These Things. (I assume you remember that I “upgraded” [ha!] to Windows 10 and  immediately lost all ability to connect to the internet. If you don’t remember, read about it here.)

The People Who Know About These Things knew all about the joys of Windows 10 and mentioned that people have been having difficulty with internet connections when they upgrade.

Where were those people when I was triple checking that it was safe to upgrade??? Clearly I should have quadruple checked, but you can’t have everything.

Techno-dude took the laptop’s blood pressure and checked other vital signs, plugged in a thumb drive thingy, whispered sweet ones and zeros and managed to connect. Yippee!

But by the time Dad and the laptop got home, the laptop turned pissy again and refused to cooperate.

Which means I still cannot connect to My Friend the Internet.

I may be good at killing technology, but I don’t like being defeated. So I pulled out my little I-can-write-blogs-anywhere computer which is over 100 years old and slower than mud. Thick mud. Frozen thick mud. That hasn’t moved in a century.

By today’s standards, my little computer is ginormous. When I bought it, it was a cute little thing.

By today’s standards, my little computer is slow. When I bought it, it was slow. But cute. And conveniently light.

Mostly what it does best is inform me that it is Not Responding.

It’s had a lot of practice saying that. Which means I’ve had a lot of practice being patient. And if you’re wondering how well that worked out, let’s just say I continue to need practice.

Love, Mom

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Why the World Has Come to a Screeching Halt | Windows 10

Dear Kid,

That horrible, eardrum shattering, twisted metal, nails on a chalkboard screech you just heard was the world shuttering to a halt.

This is what it looks like when there is no internet. You do NOT want to know what I look like when there is no internet. DearKidLoveMom.comIt is not a good day. Do not buy a Lottery ticket, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not even think about unicorns with rainbow poop.

I cannot connect to the internet. (For the record, I am posting this from Dad’s computer.)

Last night, I upgraded to Windows 10.

Just to be clear, I know that Technology and I do not exactly have the greatest of all relationships. I know that I am capable of shutting down HAL-sized machines just by being part of the same universe. And I know that one does not instantly run out and adopt the latest and greatest new operating system; one waits for the bugs to be discovered and corrected. Especially if One is Me.

I did not try to adopt Windows 10 the instant it was offered. I waited patiently. (No, seriously, I was patient. It was not a matter of Great Interest to me.) I watched others, I read reviews, I talked to Knowledgeable People, and mostly I waited.

When the aforementioned Knowledgeable People indicated the coast was clear, the bugs were zapped, and the upgrade was safe, I still waited.

Finally, last night I thought, What the heck.

Let me tell you, what-the-heck.

Not only does the upgrade take about 17 hours (during which I made soup, cleaned out three cabinets, and watched reruns of Burn Notice), it requires you to shut down and restart several many times.

No problem. Burn Notice.

But then—and this, my dear child is where things went Oh, So Terribly Wrong—my lovely, darling sweet computer turned into a stubborn hunk of metal.

It simply refused to connect to the internet.

At all.

Shut down. Restart.

Same refusal.

Click all the Let-Me-Help-You buttons. They require an internet connection. ARRRRG!

Twelve hours later, I have not resolved the problem.

I am not, just in case you were confused about the matter, a happy camper.

Love, Mom

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SuperPower Allows Me to Kill Technology Better Than Ever

Dear Kid,

Turns out technology and food are inexorably linked.

Have I told you about my superpower? Actually, I have several, but the one I’m talking about right now is the Ability to Kill Electronics (superhero theme music plays in background).

My business plan is that when I retire, I will rent myself out to people who want to take a break in their day. I will sit in the lobby of their business and, by my mere superhero presence, shut down all computers on the premises. The people who hired me (and their coworkers) get a break while IT frantically fixes everything. Brilliant.

Apparently, Grandpa has a similar (and more powerful) superpower. Combined, we are a human supermagnet.

...This meant they were reduced to using smoke signals to communicate their orders to the chef, and taking payment in the form of live

“Would you like to sit outside?” [Economy seating is available.] “No.” [It’s a tad chilly for that. But thanks for asking.]

Remember the long wait for a table at the restaurant the other night? (Read about it here.) Part of the Problem of the Delay was that the restaurant’s computer system crashed mere moments after we arrived. The crashed system meant they couldn’t put in orders for food, process credit cards, or – apparently – seat people.

In this particular case, the lack of technology also threw the waitstaff (two people) into A Complete Tizzy.

They cleverly switched to their backup system.

Did I mention that both Grandpa and I were present?

The backup crashed.

This meant they were reduced to using smoke signals to communicate their orders to the chef, and taking payment in the form of live chickens.

The Tizzy elevated to a full-fledged Frenzy.

The patrons meanwhile began discussing the best methods for raising poultry and the current flatbread/chicken exchange rate.

The moral of the story, Oh Dear One, is to learn basic math facts and skills—or be sure to carry an abacus around with you.

Love, Mom

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