D: Dependency, Dismay, and Distraction

This has been an interesting week in Apple-Land.

What I have observed about all this technology we use is how distracting it can be and how much we have to work to keep it happy. As the man said, “I’d never take that attitude from a toaster.”

I was a hard-core Windows guy until about 4 years ago when I bought a MacBook. Apple makes it easier to run their computers (which really is everything they sell from desktops to the wristwatch that can run your world.) Compared to Windows I found operating a Mac to be simple, elegant and fun. Installing Office takes minutes and I remember spending hours to put the newest Office on my Windows computer. The first time I installed an application by dragging an icon across the screen I was hooked.

Frankly, updates and upgrades have always seemed like part magic and part top-secret. I watch the computer reach out to Apple or the manufacturer and the new program installs itself while I drink a cup of coffee. Moving to the iPhone 4 was exciting but I found myself saying, “I wonder what that’s for…why are they asking that question…I really hope this works.” Using the MacBook meant I already knew how to use the iPad and the iPhone because the OS was pretty much the same on each device. The process repeated itself as my wife and I moved to iPhone 5.

This abundance of data at our fingertips is both a convenience and a distraction. The real function of Facebook is to distract us from getting to what we wanted to do. And it becomes addictive. I checked FB before starting this blog and will check it after I post. Our dependence on these gizmos has become an important part of our lives. I know that using the computer helped me produce better teaching materials, and now enables me to write whatever I choose.

You may have heard about Apple’s latest operating system, OS 8, now called OS 8.2. On Windows there seemed to be an option to take or leave an update for some applications; Apple insists I take the new version and is remarkably persistent. Whether I use the application or not makes no difference. After I downloaded the gateway to the future on my devices I learned I had some issues. Almost as soon as the OS 8 was installed millions of customers found a problem. The newest version appears to be a lot better than the one released a few days before.

The other night while cruising FB I found a page dedicated to comments about OS 8. The complaints were legion and vociferous. I realized my glitches were nothing compared to the people who could not get to their files, log into work or school or make phone calls. Hell, I had trouble tapping my code into the iPad and could not find my photos on the phone. Apple has since addressed most issues and most will likely send out another fix soon.

We have become emotionally dependent on our gadgets, but they help so much. I’m addicted to oxygen so maybe it’s not that bad to be addicted to current technology. I would hate to go back to the old typewriter and one phone in the kitchen.

C: Cowardice, Clarity, and a Code of Conduct

C: Cowardice, Clarity, and a Code of Conduct

The NFL is all tangled up over a rash of recent incidents featuring pro football players beating the hell out of someone who could not pose a physical risk. Why the Confusion?

Question 1: Is it appropriate for a man to assault a woman, especially his lover or wife? NO Question 2: is it appropriate for a man to use a weapon (belt, stick, branch etc.) to produce bruises and welts all over the kid’s body including in his groin, all in the name of discipline? NO

If these football players were car salesmen they would be jailed and unemployed. Because they have athletic skills the league gets the two questions wrong. Suspend the men without pay until it is adjudicated in court. Then, if one or more is acquitted give them their back pay. When faced with a scandalous child abuse case Penn State did everything wrong to protect the felon—I decided they asked the Catholic bishops how to handle the affair. Yes, I am Catholic. It looks like the NFL’s PR specialists are asking for advice from the Ferguson Police.

Football, especially pro football presents the ultra macho men and does everything possible to make them role models.

A MAN does not need to beat up his wife or son. Spouses protect one another, or they should. See, it’s not complicated.

A is for Adapting, Adrift, America

World Trade

A is for Adapting, Adrift, America

I retired in June of 2001 but in my mind I mark 9-11 as the date of my retirement. The next day I watched TV as our country bled and grieved. 13 years ago today I went to Stockdale HS to see what “Mom Night” was like when I was not anchored in my room giving a talk to parents. I was adrift, compelled to retire for health reasons and grieving the loss of my job.

Over the next few years I had to adapt to making retirement worthwhile even as America had to adapt to a new world. I am a very different man now than I was 9-10-01. All this I had to learn, enrolled in a course I could not see.

Now I am engaged in a Blog Challenge with my friends in Writers of Kern and glad for the chance to write. The newsletter I hoped to publish when I was teaching (hey, we’re English teachers we can write a column) found its way into life in WOK. The writing club has been essential to my growth and healing over the past 13 years.

Today is for America, the way we used to be.

Su Kay posted that today is National Suicide Prevention Day. Today is an important day to remember those who struggle with the horror of depression on a daily basis.

 

Hand me that ice bucket!

wp-icebucketchallenge

Hand me that Ice Bucket

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I don’t know who came up with the ice bucket challenge but it was a stroke of pure genius. For the past month I have been tripping over videos and photos of people drenched and laughing. Famous, not famous, athletes, politicians, actors, old and young take the chill. The best one I’ve seen is Matt Damon who made a point about water scarcity, and a couple of friends did the challenge standing over plants in their back yard so the water would drain down to feed the plants.

The idea of group participation is not new. Just think of the cancer runs, Alzheimer’s walks, NAMI walks and pledges for this cause or that. Never have I seen so a campaign that captures imagination, humor and a good cause all in one pail. The truth is that most people have given little if any thought to Lew Gehrig or the disease that ended his life. Never underestimate the good generous people can do.

Like the idea of “Pass it on,” once someone gets drenched he/she can then challenge other friends/family to soak up the experience and pass on the dare to douse and donate. Right now 10,000 math teachers are working the challenge into their lesson plans before the fad fades.

A couple of quieter challenges are making the rounds online as I type. One is The Gratitude Challenge. “In the next 48 hours, overdo the gratitude – both in prayer and in person – express your appreciation as though you’re only allowed to keep those blessing[s] that you show that you are clearly and genuinely thankful for possessing.” Over the next 48 hours express your gratitude in prayer, online, in person and to yourself as a reminder of how blessed we all are. See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com http:/

At the same time one of those endless games on Facebook asks us to pick out the 10 BOOKS that have been important in your life. “Name ten books that have stayed with or moved you. They don’t have to be great works of lit, but they have an impact on who you are. Then tag (challenge) 10 friends so they can do the same.” For a bibliophile like me, and the writers I hang out with, this is a real draw. I am working on that list now.

So, what would this blog be without a challenge? Rule 1 = do some good in the world, Rule 2 = step outside the lines, Rule 3 = have fun.

My challenge is to each of the Writers of Kern Board and the other members of WOK.

Welcome to an ice bucket/cold water challenge: Get properly doused. Then do one of the following: 1) give a donation to a charity of your choice, 2) over 2 days write/reflect on all that you have to be grateful for, 3) take the list 10 books that have impacted your life. When you complete it the challenge drop back and let us know what happened. I will do all three

 Before: The Dry Photo

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After: The Wet Photo

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