Category: Internet

A Quest

It is always fun to undertake projects with friends. I was just out looking for an apartment with a work colleague. She needed a second opinion as she is rather indecisive. I was happy to help. We looked for what seemed like ages on end with no luck. There were a lot of options but they were either the wrong size, a bad part of town, too expensive or offered few community amenities. The perfect place was not yet in view. She had told me of her extreme desire for a strategic ceiling fan. She remembered that her family had one in the sun porch when she was a child. She loved watching it turn with vigor in the air as it generated a cooling indoor breeze. It fascinated her and she has wanted one of her own ever since. I was happy to help her find the right place in her new abode.

This helped us narrow down the choices. Not all lent themselves to this look. It got to the point where we started wondering whether ceiling fans were still on trend. I thought so, but I could be wrong. Maybe they have gone out of style and we didn’t get the memo – but this blog doesn’t think they have – It became a real quest. We hoped to find one already installed but I was willing to help her get it done by a handyman. The landlord would have to agree which is not an easy task. Most nowadays don’t want major changes done to their units. Nevertheless, I agreed that she was on track in her decision.

At least we got lucky. We found a wonderful spacious apartment with big picture windows. There was a lovely view of a verdant garden. It was the idea place for a ceiling fan. It would make for a casual environment and my friend could choose the style of her dreams. She wanted a traditional unit with a pull chain as in the “old days.” She wanted blond wood with a glossy stain and a brass central light fixture that would work on a wall dimmer. There was no fan already in this great apartment, but the landlord was happen to oblige. All she had to do was select one and bring it over and his handyman would install it in a jiffy. We were both ecstatic and our quest had been fulfilled.

At her open house, many people commented on the ceiling fan and how it enlivened the space. It worked perfectly with her new rattan and cloth furniture and the area rugs on the wood floors. It was apparently a real decorating coup. I guess I was on-trend after all when I agreed that it would be a great choice. It is nice to find out that you are not totally misguided. I brought a huge potted palm to the housewarming party which fit the mood of the room. I got a gift in return for all my time spend on the quest.

Self-Taught Bartender

Have you ever suddenly experienced a crazy desire to do something outlandish and new? Well, I have. For some unknown reason, I decided I wanted to learn to be a certified bartender for myself and friends. It would mean more parties, great socializing, and all kinds of fun. Everything I know comes from the Internet so why not all the recipes for the hottest mixed drinks. There are literally hundreds of them from the old standbys like Cosmopolitans and Manhattans to the newer trendy raspberry daiquiris and pineapple margaritas. You can amuse yourself for hours once you get all the equipment and necessary ingredients from the alcohol and liqueurs to the bottled olives and cherries. Lemons, oranges, and limes must be forever on hand. Yes, I am going to do all the fancy garnishes. Soon I will be able to concoct my own specialties. I have seen this done every day on the food network. I guess all the housewives watching like to nip a little.

If you have the same calling, there are plenty of explainer videos that tell you how to pour from the well, different bottle opening tricks, and the like. You can learn anything from slicing pretty lemon wedges to making your own ice. For example, place a piece of fruit in each compartment of your ice tray and fill with vodka. Use them to chill mixed drinks for a pop of flavor. They look great and are a good party conversation piece. It’s going to take some time to learn so many things so I will start with the top ten mixed drinks first and move on from there as time permits. I even need to know some mundane stuff like the proper temperature for beer (the answer is here) and how to set a wine refrigerator dual temperature unit.

Friends are fascinated and ask me so many questions. I am a source of tips for everyone in my circle and I am not even that knowledgeable yet. I am trying to speed up the process as a result of all the attention. I am trying to put off the big reveal party just a bit longer so I will have a larger stable of drinks. I got an idea on line to get a little chalkboard and place it on the mobile bar listing the specialties of the day. Whether the party is inside or out, this little display will set the right tone for the festivities. No need to worry about making some obscure drink someone requests to be ornery. He or she would not be invited back if he asks for a Moscow Mule or White Russian. I haven’t gotten there just yet.\

I am anxious to show my technique and bartender mannerisms. I am not sure what that means but I think it means being confident about your process and also very chatty. Isn’t that the right stereotype? I think it already suits my nature.

So I’m Not Big on Sports…

I am getting to know a new friend who I met a few weeks ago. We go everywhere together and I am learning his interests and special places. While we have done to death the movie dinner thing, we are now into sports. He happens to play basketball on a proficient local team. All the family and friends of the players sit in the bleachers to cheer team on since there are no cheerleaders present. We make enough noise on our own to spur the team into action. Recently, a tournament was in progress and it was a very important game. My friend was concerned as he had twisted his ankle and needed to wear a an ankle brace. I had never seen one before, so I did a quick search and found this blog about them – I was not that big on sports before meeting him and now I am pretty much a dutiful sideliner.

While I try to have the right spirit and scream as loud as anyone after every shot, especially one made by him, I can’t resist posting during a game. Not knowing the rules and special plays, I just guess at what is special and what is a mundane performance. I suppose I will learn in time. I send texts and emails and also include photos taken with my trusty cell phone always within reach. This is how I get into the game, by sharing it with others. So, I’m not that big on sports! Give me a break. I didn’t grow up with brothers. My father never cared about making me a substitute boy. Most girls learn in this way, by shooting hoops in the driveway with family. Not me.

But here I am in the stands watching my friend do his thing and he is rather good. That much I can tell. In spite of the brace, he is really a superb basketball player. After the game, I praised him to the skies. He was pleased that I was interested enough to comment. He went on and on about the plays, the top players, and how he felt he had done. I listened attentively. When he was finished, I asked how it felt to wear the ankle brace and he explained its function. It provides support for a weak joint when you need it and prevents repeated injury as you run and jump. He told me more than I needed to know.

I didn’t care that it was latex free and doesn’t interfere with an athletic shoe. Furthermore, it has stabilizing straps that add to the effectiveness of the brace. He said that it is kind of like the stirrup effect of athletic taping which is an alternative to this heavier support. See how it positions the ankle at ninety degrees. Okay, so I looked. “It really saves the day,” I added and he smiled. “Yes, I guess I did pretty well in spite of my sore ankle. Let’s celebrate and go eat.” I never say no to a meal.

A Better Obstacle Course

A new subject and a new blog today. I have to report a really different way to entertain friends that all of you readers might want to try. When I started to run out of ideas for some garden fun, I sat and thought long and hard. My brother was watching a soccer game on TV and it hit me. Why don’t I construct an entertaining—and silly—obstacle course in my backyard? The theme would be household objects only. I began to look around and invited some close friends to join me on the hunt. I have seen a few such courses on Internet videos and wanted mine to be unique, something not encountered by anyone before. Not that I have been to any such events myself. To add to the mix, I collected some old sporting equipment found in the garage, some soccer gear used by my brother in his younger days when he was on a youth team including what he was very keen to tell me were the best cleats for soccer when he bought them. These pieces added a lot more to the course than small appliances because they are more visual and interesting. As we were placing a speed and agility ladder on the lawn in between some shin guards and a hurdle that had seen better days. I promised to return them intact, but he assured me there would be no need.

Meanwhile the course design was taking shape and looking good. It was going to be great fun, especially watching people leaping over the hurdle. I have to remember not to set it too high. We planned to film everyone so they could look at the video for posterity. It would make great fodder for YouTube. Let the games begin! Let the best man or woman win.

Having finished my part of the deal, the big day arrived and participants trickled in two by two around 2:00pm. We were serving a delicious barbecued chicken lunch with your choice of beverage. To loosen people up, we offered beer, wine and cocktails. I invented one out of mango juice and vodka mixed with a bit of vermouth and I called it the “soccer special.” All it needed was a little ice for the hot summer afternoon. We drank it by the gallon. I had to hold off the obstacle course so I could make more. It was a hysterical time for all as people tripped over the most mundane items that seemed to obscure their way. A few weren’t courageous enough to jump over the hurdle but they were game to try the ladder. A few of my male friends had trained for soccer and recognized all the gear.

Next time I will have to get even more creative to top this success. My friends like my tradition of backyard parties and there is always something to do other than eat and drink. It is always about competitive games with this adventurous group. We are all good spirited and young at heart.

Let Me Tell You Something

I get into certain topics and then I drone on about them to anyone who will listen. I love having a blog where I can rant and rave about anything I want. It can be an ethical or political issue or something as mundane as organic gardening or clean water. I don’t mean the worldwide problem of safe water in developing countries, but the kind you get at home for drinking, cooking, or bathing. I have installed a new water filter and want to share the joy. Personally, I believe we all should imbibe at least two liters of water every day. You may be ready for one if you answer yes to any of the following questions:

  • Does your water look cloudy and unappealing?
  • Does your water smell or have a lingering chlorine odor?
  • Does your plumber tell you that your pipes need replacing?
  • Do you suspect there is lead leaching from your pipes into your tap water?
  • Have you heard about any problems with your municipal water supply?
  • Do the officials test it regularly for contaminants and impurities?
  • Do you know how much better coffee tastes made with filtered water? Or anything you cook?
  • Do you drink less water because bottled water is expensive or because your tap water tastes bad?

You might be a candidate and there are as many systems out there as there are budgets and preferences. There are carbon, manganese, and iron filters, water softeners, salt-less treatment, and UV and reverse osmosis systems, each with their own pros and cons. It is all about the effectiveness of each innovation in getting rid of contaminants. New technology is improving the industry and providing cutting-edge solutions at affordable prices. The more you know, the better will be your ultimate decision. Get online and look into water filter systems and compare the details here: Look for words like “cost-efficient” and “eco-friendly.” Pick a company that talks about its research into improved design and NSF certification (which provides standards that must be met). Above all, the word “health” must appear repeatedly on the website. Everyone wants a healthier living environment for themselves and their families. You can drink clean and fresh water, get softer skin and hair, and feel better overall.

Let me be loud and clear. Take control of your water source and install the perfect system for your needs. Whether you have city or well water, you will notice the difference when the essence of life is chemical free. If you live in an apartment or a 4-bedroom house, you will select a product accordingly. Even people with RVs and boats need a filtration system. The question is, why are we plagued with pollutants? How do they get into the water supply? Whether we know or not, you can still enjoy peace of mind from safeguarding your water. And you won’t be slaving away at maintaining the system by replacing and cleaning the tanks. That’s all old school.

That Went Over Like a Lead Balloon

I love searching the Internet for anything and everything I want to know. Sometimes I stumble across new information that takes my breath away. This happened a few weeks ago when I was looking into new computer applications for graphic designers. I was talking with a friend who got me interested in the subject. Inadvertently, I read up on plasma cutting that takes place on special tables. The results are wonderful. It is amazing how it works and I wanted to know more. I couldn’t just go out and rent one not knowing the process. So, how do I try my hand at it? Eureka! Take a class. Why not bring friends? We were about to organize a wine and paint night as they are getting super popular. It is so much fun to be together and goof off with the arts.

Here was my chance. We could skip the wine and painting and go to a plasma cutting class. I found one at a local community college. I had to do some persuading, but we all enrolled and the eventful night rolled around. I was excited even though few others shared my enthusiasm. I’d done my research and had sent a link to to all my friends ahead of time, so they too would know what all the fuss was about. I was impressed that this cutter was advanced and controlled by a computer – called CNC or Computer Numerical Control. It was not the hand-held cutter I expected – much better. The instructor told us after explaining the parts of the machine that the computer could produce more precise and accurate work. You can really complex with your designs and even repeat them instantly if you like. Talk about efficiency and time savings. The special software controls the plate. The operator just pushes a button and is off. The equipment can be programmed to run without human interference. Was everyone as impressed as I was or am I the only techie in the crowd.

I was smiling but the others were not. They looked as if they were thinking, let’s get on with it. The instructor went on to demonstrate different designs and individual features. Mostly, however, plasma cutters by different makers have the basic parts: the gantry that holds the torch, a table, and a way to rid the air of smoke, dust, and/or fumes – a kind of built-in ventilation.

Now it was time to get started. One at a time we got to operate the cutter. The instructor helped us do the input into the computer. It seemed user friendly enough if you pay attention to what you are doing. You need some simple computer skills. Each of my friends wanted a different kind of result so the equipment had to be repositioned. I think I detected a pinch of excitement as the gantry holding the torch was activated. We watched some mighty precise cutting as shown on the computer. You get a preview of your output.

When the class was over, a few people grumbled that there was no wine. At least some were pleased with the time spent. Overall, my plan went over like a lead balloon; but I thought we made some super cool designs.

Internet Advice on Friendship

The internet is always going to be chock-full of advice on every subject matter there is. Some of it might be good advice but a lot of it is going to be completely ridiculous. Anybody who has fallen into one of those Pinterest traps knows exactly what I’m talking about.But if we can’t even make our holiday wreath look like the one we see online or the end result of our baking would look more at home on cake-wrecks, why do we trust the internet with other, more important things?

Now you know what I was pondering last night when I couldn’t fall asleep. Or maybe it’s why I couldn’t fall asleep. It amounted to the same thing, honestly. I eventually got out of bed and opened up my laptop, because I really wanted to see what the internet had to offer me about an important question: advice on friendship.

See, one of my friends is going through a hard time and she’s got to make a pretty big decision about her life. I don’t know what to say to her because I don’t want her to feel like I am pushing her in one direction or the other. I know what I think she should do but I am not the one who has to live with the consequences. Besides, if she takes a different path, I feel like things would be awkward because she knew what I’d do if I were her. So I’ve been keeping my mouth shut and just offer to listen to her. I don’t know if I am doing the right thing, though. I wanted to see what the internet said about it because the internet thinks it knows everything.

The first thing that came up was a news article about friendship problems. I read through it and realized that, although it didn’t say anything in the title to tip you off, it was clearly written for women. There was advice about what to do when you’re being excluded from mommy groups and finding yourself pregnant when your friend can’t conceive. Anyway, that article skewed a little old for me.

I switched to images to see if it lowered the age bracket a little. I found lots of quotes and memes. Jackpot! The images were from all kinds of different sites with different themes: learning how to set boundaries, how to make friends in college, why I need to stop comparing myself to my friends because apparently I will never measure up, how I could be friends with someone for a long time but that doesn’t mean we should stay friends forever. I read through some of the sites and felt better that I am on the right track with her.

The thing I noticed most, though, was that these were overwhelmingly pictures of women or geared toward them. I guess guys don’t look for these types of articles. I wonder what they do instead? Throw a basketball at somebody’s head or pull their hair? Call them names? I don’t know, I don’t really understand guys.

Alright, I am pretty tired so I’m going to sign off for today. Thanks for reading!

Google Searches Gone Wrong

People turn to internet searches for the weirdest things. I guess it is a better way to ask super embarrassing questions instead of the way we used to get all our info (although, really, where did we get our info before Google? Our friends? Parents? Teachers? I couldn’t really tell you). I know people say that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. They’ve never used Google’s prediction feature. That thing is chock-full of stupid questions. And I’m not embarrassing myself here, I am aware that the it first shows me my own search history. I’m not talking about those.

Just the other day, I was trying to find out where a certain athlete plays. I got as far as “where does t” and Google auto-completed it to “where does translation occur?” My first thought was complete confusion. I mean, are they thinking of the United Nations? Are they hoping to hire a translator or work as one and they need to know where other translators hang out? But no. It turns out that translation is a reaction inside the nucleus of a cell. Not nearly as fun as where I was going with it.

I also noticed that when I type in an actress’s name, the next result is often “age.” As if I care. Usually, I am just trying to figure out what else I’ve seen them in. I get creeped out a little when after their names comes things like “feet.” Ugh. People are just gross. On the other hand, when I’m looking up actors, however, the thing that comes up first is “wife.” I don’t know if people are checking marital status (like they’d have a chance) or if actors just have hot wives or something. It’s not really something I want to think about too hard, you know? Again, I usually just want to know what else they’ve been in.

If you ever really want to worry about our species as a whole, type in “is it bad…” or “should I stop…” and see what the search engine thinks you’re going to ask next. Although it does seem that everyone is concerned about eating ice, which is weird because I’d think that there would be bigger concerns in life. Unless you’re making ice wrong, it’s just water. Dentists say that it’s bad for your teeth (that’s just common sense, people) but it’s not like there are magnets in there or chunks of plastic or anything. And if you have to ask the internet if you should stop doing something, chances are, you already know the right answer: yes, you should stop. Probably either before it gets worse or before you get caught, whichever one applies.

So that’s my funny thing about the internet today. Have you ever noticed these? Did you get any super weird search predictions, and if you did: were you curious enough to follow through to see what the answer was? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

I’ll Get You For This, Autocorrect!

We’ve all be the victims of autocorrect. Typing something out in a rush on those tiny screens and hitting send before we read the message leaves us vulnerable. Even the most sophisticated grammar check doesn’t always know exactly what we mean, and so many words are so closely spelled that one letter here or there makes it something completely different. Before you know it, you’ve asked your friend if you can borrow their copy of Harry Potato and the Sorcerer’s Stove and you feel like a complete idiot when they laugh at you.

I hate it when I first get a new phone and there are all kinds of things that I have to add to the dictionary. Like my friends’ names. It keeps arguing with me that certain names aren’t words—as if it is my fault their parents spelled their names that way. I swear I had nothing to do with any of that. And then that issue everyone goes through where we have to tell our phones a million times, “NO! I didn’t mean ducking!” I also use the speech-to-text feature sometimes when I’m driving. I really shouldn’t, because half the time the messages get sent as complete gibberish. The other day, I texted a friend to let her know I was 10 minutes away and wanted to know if she wanted anything from the coffee place on her corner. My phone somehow decided that I said, “I am 10 minuets away. You want me me from the Cortney race?” While that’s definitely not the worst one that’s ever happened to me, it is the most recent. You know you’re laughing. Let’s just say we’re laughing together and not at me, mmkay?

Sure, I hate it when autocorrect makes me look dumb. But I am not afraid to admit that I love it when it happens to other people. Just reading the dumb crap that these phones translate what we really mean into is super entertaining. If I’m ever in need of a good laugh, Damn You Autocorrect always delivers. Or you can simply type, “autocorrect fails” into a search engine. You might be on there for days between the compilation sites, the memes, and the dedicated pages. Some of it is so funny. Other times, you find yourself laughing but feeling that if that text had happened to you, you’d want to die of embarrassment.

There are so many ways to make yourself look like an idiot when using autocorrect. Accidentally sending illicit texts to family members. Cursing when we don’t mean to. Turning swear words into harmless waterfowl. Changing words and screwing up the answers to questions. All with embarrassing or hilarious (or hilariously embarrassing) results. I can’t help it. It’s funny.

The only ways to protect yourself are to either turn the feature off on your phone or read over every message before you hit send. Either one should work, but it won’t be nearly as funny!

What I Think of Internet Trolls

At first, I didn’t think that I could make this post more than once sentence:

Internet trolls are the worst.

But that isn’t really enough to convince people who think that internet trolls are harmless, or that if people ignore the trolls, they’ll just go away. Those people have clearly never had an internet troll come after them.

The internet is supposed to be a great equalizer: everyone can talk about their own opinion and theories, especially in like-minded niche type forums. The internet should be a free exchange of ideas and opinions, silly cat videos, and those recipe videos I can never recreate no matter how hard I try. It is a great way to spread information (or alternative facts).

Internet trolls, for whatever reason, feel like the internet belongs exclusively to them. They often hide behind fake names and anonymous accounts, and often have more than one account in case one gets shut down. These trolls want nothing more than for people (and let’s face it, their targets are usually women) to be afraid to express their thoughts and opinions. If you disagree with some belief of theirs, no matter how far out there it is, they’re going to come after you quickly and relentlessly. They’re not going to come at you with logic or intelligence, either. It’ll be a lot of “go kill yourself,” threats of violence, or insults.

I was listening to the radio a while ago in my car and a reporter was talking about how he wrote an article—backed up with lots of sources and was found to be factually accurate—but it was an unpopular idea. This reporter suddenly found himself to be under attack by internet trolls. They didn’t just send him death threats. They threatened his entire family. They even went so far on Twitter as to send him photoshopped pictures of his young daughter being tortured. Just because they didn’t like what he said. And it was the truth!

It can, and does, happen to people who aren’t reporters, too. Anyone who posts on social media may find themselves the victim of a troll attack. It could be a post you make on facebook that gets a larger audience than you originally intended. It could be a tweet that isn’t on a private account. It doesn’t even have to be an opinion. It could be a picture that you’re tagged in that they happen to see and, for whatever reason, they decide you look like a good target.

Trolls have nothing better to do than sit around and look for people to belittle and mock. They feel much better about themselves when they are sitting safely behind a screen, using their keyboards as the ultimate weapon. And because they’re usually hiding behind fake accounts, their victims often don’t have much recourse to avoid them.

If you’ve ever had to fight with one, you’ll know: it’s worse when you engage with them. It’s hard to report them and get them blocked—they often know the end-user policies and are able to skate a very thin line around it, or they simply create a new account and continue their assault.

I’m not saying that you should avoid being online. Just be safe and be smart out there. My best advice to avoid internet trolls is to protect your own privacy. If you’re writing and posting online, be sure to take the geotag off your camera. Keep a dedicated email account for the social media accounts you create. Read the privacy policies on the sites you use to post and comment. Make your accounts as private as possible. Finally, be sure that you understand what your options are if you are a victim of a troll attack.