Awards: Take Four

Mere days after I’ve published my last “thank you” post for a blog award a certain Ella Medler hunted me down and attacked me with four new awards.

Now, I’m not saying there’s a global conspiracy aimed at drowning my blog in a sea of awards, but let’s face it – there is! I am tempted to open another, parallel blog, exclusively dedicated to keeping track of awards and writing about them.

But what happens if that blog starts getting awards of its own?! Will I need a third blog? Will it create a feedback-loop, opening up a black hole that swallows our Solar System?! Unlikely, but are any of you willing to take that risk?

So…yeah…awards. Four of them:

  • One Lovely Blog Award
  • Beautiful Blogger Award (don’t laugh, men can be beautiful too…on the inside…I assume)
  • Inspiring Blog Award
  • Don’t Do A Damn Thing Award

All of these can now be seen on the awards page.

Can I just take a moment to say how awesome I think the last one is?! Finally, an award created by someone who just gets me. You had me at “don’t do a damn thing” good sir/mam. Whoever and wherever you are!

I can easily do that!

Back to Ella Medler. Ella’s name may already be familiar to you, as we’ve exchanged awards and written on each other’s blogs before. Or maybe you have read one of her books – Martin Little: Resurrected? If not, I can highly recommend it, and in fact do so in this Amazon review. Ella, thank you for thinking about and nominating me!

The good thing about these four awards is that I’m essentially expected to do the same thing with each one – nominate 7 bloggers and share 7 random things about myself.

Instead of 7, today I will pick only a single blogger to pass all four awards to. It’s someone who has thrown blog awards my way before, but never received any from me. I will right this injustice immediately!

She runs a great blog that I read on a regular basis and leaves comments on all of my posts, which is awesome!

I’m talking about none other than Carrie Rubin.

Not only is she a great blogger she’s now also a great author. Her debut novel The Seneca Scourge is collecting excellent ratings on Amazon. Carrie, I know that you’ve received all of these awards from Ella herself, but repetition has never hurt anyone (unless we’re talking about repeated electroshock therapy). So enjoy the awards and please feel free to only follow the rules of the “Don’t Do A Damn Thing” one.

Can’t get enough of this award!

Now, the seven random bits about myself:

1. I hate umbrellas. There, I said it! I’m not afraid of telling it how it is. I get the concept of umbrellas and their inherent usefulness, but I’ve never had good experiences with them. I personally never carry one on the off chance of rain, for the same reason I don’t carry a shovel with me just in case I get buried in an avalanche.

Every time someone else offers to share their umbrella with me I end up having to walk uncomfortably close to that person, stumbling over them while their umbrella pokes my ear and lets rain leak onto my shoulders. Thanks, but no thanks. A hood will work just fine for me.

2. I hate formal wear. Suits, ties, tuxedos. It’s the most uncomfortable combination of items to put on your body, up there with nipple piercings and “willy leashes” (yeah, they have those). Thankfully there’s no strict dress-code where I work and there were few occasions in my life where dressing up was required.

3.  I hate coriander. It tastes like soap. It makes any meal with it taste of soap. Side note: yes, I know how soap tastes…I’m really uncoordinated when I shower.

4. I have a pretty liberal view on weed and similar light drugs, but I’ve never tried any myself. Additionally, to this day I’m yet to try smoking regular cigarettes. Yes, I am on standby for the Pope to grant me sainthood any day now.

5. I love essentially anything sweet – chocolate, candy, chocolate candy, candyfied chocolate. But above all – ice cream. I’m honestly surprised my teeth haven’t turned into jelly by now. That reminds me – I love jelly too!

6. I have two molars missing. One on the lower right, one on the lower left. Symmetrical as hell! Long story short: root canals, bad teeth, had to go. Surely nothing to do with point 5, in case you’re wondering. Ah well, more space for those wisdom teeth.

7. I involuntarily and automatically memorize most song lyrics. This is excellent for those a capella shower-singing sessions, but absolutely horrifying when I happen to listen to mainstream radio. Which is why, thanks to Gangnam Style, I now speak decent Korean.

Me has Kindle now!

I mentioned earlier the reasons I was getting a new laptop.

It has arrived, by the way, and I’m really happy with it. Thanks for asking! No, I’m not being passive aggressive…maybe you are just being too sensitive. I’m fine, really. Nothing is wrong. Just, let it go, OK?!

Another addition to my collection of toys that have screens and buttons is a brand new Kindle. My girlfriend gave it to me for our 2 year anniversary. She’s really great at knowing what I want and interpreting my subtle hints in the form of “a Kindle would be great for reading!” and “I think I should get a Kindle soon”.

I won’t bore you by telling you all the reasons I’m happy with my new Kindle. You probably know all there’s to know about this nifty gadget. Did you know it has over a month of battery time?! And that it has an inbuilt dictionary for those recondite locutions you may come across? It’s super light and compact, so you can bring it along anywhere you want. Also, you can even read books on it!

OK, so I lied about not boring you…

Anywayzings (which is a word that nobody has used before and under no circumstances should ever use again), I am now busy converting all my PDFs to Kindle format and finally reading them. I am almost done with Ella Medler’s Martin Little: Resurrected – a quirky and thoroughly enjoyable tale with an alternative take on Heaven and Hell.

Today one of my favourite fellow bloggers, Carrie Rubin, released her first ever book – The Seneca ScourgeI will let Carrie tell you about the book in that post I’ve linked to, but knowing Carrie I have high hopes for it! Which is why it’s already on my Kindle, awaiting its turn to be read. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you could totally have a book on your Kindle within seconds. Neat, huh?!

Before Carrie’s book on my list is the paperback version of Senseless Confidential from Martin Bannon. I’m really looking forward to it as well. Any book that contains the word “fuckhead” in the opening sentence gets my vote!

All I wanted to say is that I’m now finally equipped for the digital age and am looking forward to filling my Kindle with all sorts of reading material. Any recommendations?

Are you a Kindle person or a “books are best read on paper” person? Does Kindle kindle a flame in your heart? Does it make you happier than a kindle of kittens? Do you hate puns as much as I do?

Guest Expressed: “Why You Should Never Buy a Computer for Your Mother”

Today I have the pleasure of bringing you a guest from fellow blogger Ella Medler. She’s hosted an article of mine on her blog last week. This week she visits my blog to talk about a problem known to us all – parents dealing with technology. Enter Ella:

Like the majority of people mildly concerned about the precarious independence of their aging parents, I succumbed to the hottest trend and equipped my dear mother with a (close to) state of the art laptop, complete with webcam, internet and spare peripherals.

I spent three weeks a couple of summers ago demonstrating this perfectly formed machine’s every function and, after a little persuasion, my mother even conceded to take notes.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I clocked in her growing enthusiasm because I knew I wouldn’t be able to simply jump in a car and drive over at the first sign of trouble and she looked like she was very much in control.

Everything went smoothly, much better than I’d originally expected and I drove home blissfully happy, lulled into a false sense of security by the obvious validity of slogans I would usually treat with a healthy dose of reservation: ‘easy as one-two-three’ and ‘empowering people’ and ‘computers help people help people’ – you know the type.

What a load of twaddle.

What a big fat LIE!

If I’d known then what I know now I would NEVER have allowed something as downright harrowing as technology into her life. I would have fiercely discouraged the mere thought. I would have smashed to tiny pieces any box left on her doorstep containing computer-related free giveaways, and that includes top of the range laptops that might have had good flogging potential on eBay under any other circumstances.

At present, all she can use her laptop for is as means of communicating with me.

She can’t get her head around emails and Google searches bring her out in a rash. She won’t be told how to open up a word document because she will do things her way and only when she feels ready.

She suddenly felt ready for video calls about six months ago. After weekly failed attempts followed by bouts of frustrated teary phone conversations and threats of violence against innocent computers, it finally became evident that video calling via Live Messenger was going to be one of those life skills that my mother would never master.

At what seemed like the twelfth hour (from the computer’s point of view) I managed to convince her to try Skype. She cornered one of her friends’ son and he took the time, bless him, to create her account for her.

Not that the excitement had any lasting effects. Nowadays, our video calls sound a little like this:

Me: Hello?

Mum: Oooh, what do I click on?

Me: Mum?

Mum: Just a sec, dear. I’ll get it started.

Me: Mum, you have. You’ve clicked on ‘answer’.

Mum: (mumbles incoherently, sounding annoyed. I think I detect a swear word in there)

Me: Mum. Stop for a minute so I can tell you what to do.

Mum: Can you see me, Ella?

Me: (quietly) I will if you hold still for long enough. (louder) Mum, you’ve got to click on the video camera.

Mum: What video camera?

Me: The one at the bottom of the screen.

Mum: There’s nothing at the bottom of the screen.

Me: Yes, there is. Just hover the mouse over it.

Mum: (clicking feverishly) Oh, I don’t know what this means. (speaking woodenly) Adjust microphone settings…

Me: No, mum. Don’t touch that.

Mum: Speaker… webcam… connection…

Me: Mum, close that window.

Mum: What window?

Me: Don’t do anything and close that window.

Mum: Don’t know how… Mobile…

Me: It’s the cross, mum. Top, right hand corner.

Mum: Oh, I remember now.

The call disconnects. I count to ten, waiting. Finally, she rings.

Me: Hi, mum.

Mum: Hey, I can see you. Can you see me?

Me: Yes, mum. I clicked on ‘answer with video’. (she looks confused) You should click on ‘answer with video’ when I call you, mum. That’s the second button along.

Mum: The second button? What button?

Me: You have a string of buttons appear on the screen when I ring, don’t you, mum?

Mum: (shrugs) Don’t know what buttons you’re talking about.

Me: When I ring, mum. What button do you click on? Do you click on ‘answer’?

Mum: Of course I answer. You ring, I answer.

Me: Yes, but you need to click on the button that says ‘answer with video’. (she looks confused and I’ve had enough) Never mind, mum. I’ll explain it next time.

Last night’s conversation was not much different. It started the same way, then we talked about irrelevant news items, we progressed to the weather, and then she served it to me straight up.

“You know those fancy DSLR cameras, the ones you can use to take photos that you then change and airbrush and things? Can you teach me how to use one of those?”

I nearly fainted.

Ella welcomes guest articles on her blog or you could just drop her a line via her website