Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Technically Challenged

I try to get by the Stockman's Cafe at least one morning a week for coffee and to catch up on local news.  (OK, local news at a cowboy cafe is called gossip at a hair salon .... but "local news" sounds better in a blog!) 
The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent!
The other morning as I arrived Bud was showing off his new razor thin flip top camera cell phone.  Now watching those 50+ year old cowboys pass that phone around brought back memories of being a youngster and some kid bringing a new toy to school.  Every one had to take a look and push some of the buttons.  (Of course in this situation no one really knew what the buttons did!)  Now Bud was trying to tell what all this new phone would do (which in reality he didn't know either) .... but as the Good Book says, the blind shall lead the blind! 
It went something like this.
"All you have to do is open it like this and it's turned on and ready to talk," Bud said with nods of approval all around the table.  "It's got speed dial, a camera, speaker phone and they said it even has voice commands. I keep it on speaker because I can hear it better."
"What does that voice commands mean?" Butch asked.
"Well I can just say the name and it dials," Bud proudly answered.  "For instance I could say Sheryl and it ....." all of us then heard the multi-toned dialing sounds begin.  There was a awed silence around the room as a stunned Bud looked at the phone.  We all then heard the ring of a phone as Bud quickly closes the flap.  "Dang!" Bud exclaims, "I didn't know it was that easy!"
"So the only way you can dial that thing is to say their name?" Butch asked in clarification.
"Oh no," Bud explained, "you can manually just put in the number or you can have them on speed dial."
"What's speed dial?" Butch asked.  He always was the inquisitive type.
"Well Sheryl's speed dial number is 5, so you just hold down the 5" Bud said as he continued his demonstration.  Instantly we heard the multi-toned dialing and the ringing of a phone.  Bud closed the flap quickly, "Wow that thing is fast!"
"Well how does that camera work?"  Butch continued his questioning.
Bud then proudly opened the phone again and took a picture of Butch, turned the phone to him and showed him the screen with his picture one it.  "Then if I want to send that picture to someone I just say 'send to Sheryl' and poof off it goes!"
"Well I'll be a monkey's uncle!" Butch said in amazement.
With the features all presented, Bud reluctantly folded the flap and put it in his pocket, taking care to button the flap.  Just then the Lone Ranger theme song started playing.  Bud, being the center of attention again, extracted his phone.
"Hello?" proudly holding the phone out so he could demonstrate the speaker phone.
"Why did you send me Butch's picture?" asked a very sleepy sounding Sheryl.
"Well I was just showing the boy's here how the phone worked" Bud explained.
"You woke me up showing the boys your phone?" a much angrier Sheryl asked.  "Well let me tell them what I am going to do with your phone.   I'm gonna come down there and ...... "  She then went on to explain to all in the room a very detailed anatomical description of where she was going to put that new cell phone.  Then everyone in the cafe heard the loud click as she hung up.
The whole cafe was quiet for a minute looking at Bud.  "She's a little touchy early of a morning since she took that night shift at the hospital" he explained still holding the phone out as if displaying it.   A very worried look on his face.
Butch was the first to break the silence and offer advice for his worried friend, "On your way home tonight, you best stop by and get some flowers for Sheryl."  Immediately we heard the multi-toned dialing sounds and the ringing of a phone. 
Bud quickly closed the flap as everyone in the cafe decided that it was time to get to work.  I haven't been back since that fateful morning, but I suspect Bud is walking a little more bowlegged.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Shopping on line, Warden style

I was listening to some business news the other day at how many billions of dollars are spent at Christmas time.  An astronomical amount to say the least.  He told stories of people standing in line for hours the day after Thanksgiving waiting on the store to open.  He talked about crowded malls and retail stores and the mad rush to find the right present.  It really got me in the Christmas spirit!
Then discussion turned to "on line shopping".  It was reported that 50-60% of all Americans will purchase at least one item this Christmas season from an "on line store".   And there aren't many major retailers who don't have an "on line store" anymore.  To me this does make a lot of sense, sure beats the heck out of standing in the express lane at Wal-Mart!
Authors note: It has often been said that a person will spend 30% of his life in bed.  I think an additional 25% of his life is spent standing in a check out line at Wal-Mart!
But let me describe "shopping on line" with the Warden.  It goes something like this;  I'm on my way to town to purchase something when the cell phone rings.
"I forgot we had to have those clothing gifts for the angel tree person tomorrow at church." the Warden says, "Will you pick them up while you are in town?"
"Dear," I always use sweet words if I am going to attempt to turn her down, "you know I'm not good at matching colors and stuff.  And besides I don't know where all the things are!"
"Just call me when you get in Wal-Mart" comes her denial to my attempted evasion.  Click!
As I walk in the door, instead of saying Merry Christmas to the Wal-Mart greeter, I'm dialing my phone.
"I'm here!" I say as she answers.
"Ok, turn right and go to the men and boy's department," she instructs.  (She knows a Wal-Mart layout better than any of the Wal-Mart store designers.)  "Now look for a shirt, large, neutral in color."
"What color is neutral?" I inquire.  (My motive here is to nip this style of shopping in the bud while it is still in it's infancy.)
"Pick out two and then use your camera phone to send me a picture," she commands.  Click!  (I think she figured out my plan.)
So I do as I am told and then call her back. 
"Take the one on the right.  And then go to the slacks."  The aforementioned scenario is repeated and the proper color is picked.  The Warden then directs me around the store to the various other items she wants purchased.
Finally, I'm headed for the checkout line with all the desired items.  "Ok, then we're done?  I can head home now?"
"No!" she says, " I need you to stop by the grocery store and pick up a few items.  Call me when you get there!"    Click!
I'm not sure anymore that I am all for this "on line shopping" I think to myself as I inch forward in the checkout line.  I think all it did was to replace the list!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Cold Weather and the Warden

Last week here in KS we set record high temperatures, sit on the front porch and griped because it was so hot.  This week we set record low temperatures and hunted for our long handles.  But I guess that .....on the average we've had perfect temperatures!
None-the-less, nothing ever breaks down until it is needed.  Yesterday the Warden called on my cell and said something was wrong with the heater and she could barely heat the house past 60 degrees.  Well now there wasn't much I could do from where I was at, so she called a heating and cooling guy out to fix it.  He said there was some sort of switch burned out and he needed to get parts so it might be a day or two.  So the Warden packed her bags and headed over to the daughters house to get warm.
Now this just kind of shows how "modern conveniences" affects us.  Back home on the farm, the Warden was one tough lady!  I've seen her bed sows in a blizzard!  Carry bales of straw to the sow pens when the snow was near waist deep just to keep them warm at night.
Thaw out frozen automatic waters for the hogs to drink!   She might take hours in the freezing wind working with hot water, torches or electric heaters just to get water flowing again for the pigs.
She would carry feed through snow drifts for the sows!  She could carry two 25 lb buckets of feed at a time and sometimes had to make 5 or 6 trips just to get everything fed, but she didn't give up!  She just hunkered down and went after it till the job was done!
She could castrate a farrowing of pigs in a matter of minutes.  Cold weather or hot, she just got the job done.  (Side note here:  She was so good at castrating, I dang sure wouldn't go to sleep before she did if we ever had a fight!!)
She would cut and split wood for the wood stove when the temperatures were falling below zero!  She could split a rick of wood in less than an hour, unless it was hedge.  Let alone bringing in frozen clothes off the clothesline!
But when we moved to town and she found out about "central heat" and "clothes-driers", well it's just made her plenty soft in her "mature years".  I reckon I should move her back to the country to help toughen her up again.  What do you think? Leave me a comment below if you agree so I can show her.