The new leader.

This is pretty big news. I called it. A sneaky takeover is approaching. It doesn’t happen often in the real world that a race for the leader sees the winner fall from first to third place, but it might happen this year.

Microsoft was first out of the gate with an open system that allowed anybody to make and sell the hardware, and let Microsoft worry about making it all work together. Most would say they had limited results.

Soon, Apple came in as leader cooler looking hardware that was the same for everyone, so software was able to be more secure and bug free. They made a lot of money and also took over the music industry and phones and tablets.

Google meanwhile made a third option that wasn’t really being taken seriously in the laptop world, but Android phones are neck and neck with Apple in popularity and each wins at some parts of the phone market. Windows phones are still struggling.

THis year however, Google sneaks in a new PC OS. All new Chrome Laptops will run Android apps. This means they enter the computer market with a polished 10 year tested OS thatat least half the world knows, uses and loves. BAM.

With people using their phones and tablets more than their home computers in many cases, this is huge news. Microsoft lost it’s lead because people stopped needing it, and could choose options. The switch to Macintosh was a big move for people. We usually like to avoid big moves.

However a move to ANdroid is a breeze, and we may already have all the software we need. Word Processing, video, Facebook and Chrome. The urgent need to have Microsoft Office is no longer an issue.

Google, with almost no fanfare may win the home computer and laptop market this year and in the future. They underprice the competition and in many ways, iOS is great on a phone, but the Mac OS is now the only one not supported on tablets, phones and desktops. Mac OS is the old school way.

Plus Android is in TV, Fridges, cars and everywhere!

The scripted election of 2016

I’m a Canadian with a television, which means I have to pay attention to the politics of the USA. It’s always a crazy show, but the year of 2016 is the craziest in my lifetime, if not in history.  There are so many conspiracy theories floating around, mostly because the campaigns are so crazy, we really can’t believe it wasn’t planned… or even scripted.

As an outsider to the country, it’s been quite eye opening. Previous elections have shown me the way America is split. It’s scared me in the past how one side uses fear to scare people away from the other side. During the last election, and the one before that, and the 5 before that, I’ve been shocked at how the one side overplays how electing the other side will mean the end of times. As a Canadian, I’ve laughed at how Republicans use crazy words like Armageddon and End of Times when they talk about the Democrats winning. People claim they’ll move to Canada if their side loses.

In fact, much of American pride is based on two “chants they treat as facts. Americans are always claiming to be the greatest country on earth, and they’ll only stay the greatest if their side is in power.

I see this as a major problem in the USA, because one side is always going to win, and if they’ve scared you enough – you might become terrified… or worse… an activist to destroy the other side. The fears are usually crazy. I see more of it from the Republican side, scaring the shit out of their followers with devil commercials and abortion talk and all sorts of fear mongering… I could easily see a war start if they lose.

However this year in general, they have a clown running as leader, and he’s upped the anti on fear. He’s actually inditing riots and fear more than anyone previous. He has convinced everyone that his opposition is a crooked liar that will destroy the country, and people obviously believe it and bow to his greatness… but in reality, Donald Trump is a horrible candidate and people SHOULD be terrified of his power.

I’ve always thought that politics, particularly in the USA has been scripted, or at least plotted in advance. Elections are placebo processes to further the belief that America is a democracy, but in truth, it’s just a story. They have two sides, merely so we can always be unhappy about some decisions and happy about others, but in time- everything gets done. some by our side and some by their side. Every 4 or 8 years we flip sides.

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president… badly. The country didn’t want Hillary. In her first attempt, American elected a black man as the first President. An amazing feat for a country still very racist. Hillary came back in 2016 and the democrats gave her a second chance, but it was still clear that many Americans hated her. Nobody is quite sure why, but the Republicans sure liked to use that, and it seemed clear that Hillary was not going to win… ever.

Unless…. her competition is bat shit crazy scary.  Unless they make her competition unelectable. Perhaps that was the idea last time.  Surly they expected Americans would chose a woman over a black man… but they didn’t, so they found something worse to go against her. Donald Trump. The guy From TV’s Apprentice.  I suspect the democrats hatch a plan with their friend Donald Trump. Let this crazy guy run against her and she’s sure to win. It’s a can’t lose plan.

In this scenario, it’s likely Trump was even asked to overplay his crazy.  He had to be insane enough to sway both Republican and democratic voters towards Hilary. He is trying really hard, but wow. Hillary was hated so much, Trump had to go really really crazy, and even then….

The race has just started this week. Hillary and Donald are the candidates. Now each will try to win back 51% but it might be a lot harder than they expected, and if they don’t play it right, the crazy orange ego may get the power. It’s looking more and more possible each week.

They didn’t perceive how much the democrats hate Hillary too. If people don’t vote, or vote against, Trump could win with a good majority.

It’s hilarious from here, but scary shit if you’re American, because if you’re smart- you understand a Trump victory could actually be quite bad for the country. It’s hard to see how it would not be a disaster, even if Trump takes a teeny role and gets somebody educated and smart to do the actual work, which is appears is his new plan. His VP could end up running the country for him. He remains a loud and loved fear monger and somebody does all the work behind him.

But still… scary stuff with regards to the world and other countries, and VERY scary if he doesn’t appease those nutcase fans of his that believe he’ll build a wall and send all Muslims packing. His crazy talk has so many fans, there could be riots and deaths if he loses, or even if he wins and turns into a politician and everything he said was a lie.

I can see no good outcome, but I leave it to the experts that write the script for this play. Maybe they have a plan.

It’s sad Hillary got so much hate. From here, she seems like a perfectly qualified first women president. she has experience both socially and professionally, and her husband was one of the most loved presidents by both parties of all time.

I’m just glad The Daily Show is still on the air, making me laugh each night at this show. Politics is the best comedy on TV this year. It’s better than the fictional political shows on TV. I swear Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have written it better.

The Emergency Room

There are a few places in life people need to wait. Some lines you can avoid, or do without. Some lines you can schedule and return at less busy times.

It’s hard to avoid the waiting room at a hospital. I suppose the rich can pay for better treatment in some cases, but I like to believe we’re all fairly equal in the emergency room.

That’s nor to say people are treated in priority, giving aid to the bleeding or unconscious first, but in the room I find myself in today, we’re all just sitting here watching the time pass by, each dealing with the hours in our own way.

The family with an impatient child is to my right. He either cries, runs around, or screams in joy but he never stays quiet. His parents react as if this is clearly the norm for him. They’ve gotten over the embarrassing stage and the need to apologize. It’s just the way it is.

Another man to my left is asleep. He hasn’t moved much for a while, but I’m confident he’s still alive. Up until recently I thought he was just resting with closed eyes trying to block out everything else. I myself have trued that technique for as long as I could. Recently however he’s transitioned to the new phase of sleep where his chair sprawl has gone more wide. I hope he doesn’t miss his name when they finally call.

Two separate people are playing games with the sound on, although low. The older boy beeps with a schedule that makes me think it’s a match game, but not Candy Crush. I know those tones and tines well. The younger boy is playing some farm game. His phone makes oink oink, cluck cluck barn sounds with irregular frequency.

The mother, daughter duo to my immediate left are discussing how theur life will change if she’s told she can’t eat junk food anymore. She asks her. Mother if she’s ever even tried Kale. Apparently everyone is talking about kale now.

For an emergency room, nobody seems to have any visible emergencies. We all sit together and wait our turn. The names are called out slowly. In the two or more hours I’ve been here, only a few have moved.

I suspect there are different areas for different levels of emergency. I’m in the O Zone waiting area, sponsored by John Vince bulk foods. Clearly a lower priority emergency room waiting area.

Finally, after just over 2 hours, I get to go sit and wait in my own room. I don’t know if it’ll be another hour, or a shirt wait, but it’s certainly less fun to be alone. This place is new… But not like my diction office. There are no gruesome pictures of lungs or intestinal tracts on the walls. It’s just me, a chair and a bed… And a basket of soiled linen next to the chair which might have a slight odour.

I wait.

My visit today is one of the irritating ones both for me and the staff. I’ve got one of these mystery ailments that wasn’t in the text books. That means more tests and guesses. I made the mistake earlier of comparing the doctors diagnosis with my own work with computers.

“I know it’s not the same”, I started, “but I know the frustration of these cases when you have to use experience to figure out what’s wrong. I have similar issues when I am diagnosing computer problems. There is always that case that doesn’t quite match your training.”

It seemed like I may have upset him comparing his years of dedicated schooling about the human body, to my experiences troubleshooting Windows 98 crash issues.

“nobody dies when I get it wrong. ”

I went to far with that one. We didn’t speak again. He sent me here, to the hospital. I don’t have that luxury I thought. If I can’t figure out why you’re getting a blue screen of death, then you keep getting it. If I send you to somebody else, they’ll reformat your machine and start over.

Lucky doctor I thought.

Not really. I would certainly have preferred he knew the answer. Now I sit and wait for hour 3, fully aware that these new eyes may be equally stumped and need to hand me off yet again to another line in another building.

At least I’m away from the screaming baby.

The new face arrived shortly after and proceeded with some of the same basic tests I’d been subjected to twice already, but that was to be expected. I was happy he agreed with me more than the first doctor. I probably didn’t have a stroke.

As a computer service guy, I made it a personal policy of mine, and those I had working for me not to badmouth those who came before. I never trash talked whatever the previous support person dud, whether it be a friend, another IT specialist, or a blue shirt at Best Buy.

It was nice to see this doctor had the same policy although his face told a slightly different story. Almost a discust for whatever doctor had come before having told me I might have a mild stroke.

First if all, he said, if this was a stroke, it would have been a full on stroke, nothing mini. If you can’t move your arm, that’s not mini – – and you certainly would have at least one symptom.

I had full strength in both arms and all my faculties. They asked of I knew my name, and the date and a few other questions. I was hoping they’d ask who the president was, like on TV. I wanted to answer; Donald Trump… Oh no. I have lost my mind.

I didn’t get the chance, especially since this is Canada, but I had to make the joke anyway. It was funny to me, so I said it anyway, but with a laugh to make it clear I wasn’t delusional.

After we established it was probably just a normal shoulder injury, most likely created by sleeping position, weather, and my old shoulder injury, I was walked to the MRI machine for the confirmation.

The nice technician helping me on this portion of my journey was surprised to hear I was looking forward to this procedure. “I don’t hear that very often” she said. I explained that it’s a new story. Lots of people see these things on TV but few get to experience it.

I made a few traditional jokes about metal and the terrors of TV episodes, and emptied my pockets like at the airport.

“Luckily my teeth are all plastic now. They used to contain a lot of metal.”

She reacted professionally with a smile, despite probably having heard most of the same jokes a hundred times before.

Following this, I walked down to the next room and got the x rays. No. Lines or waiting at either of these stations. Then, back to station one for some blood letting and then full circle back to the waiting room.

I’m not sure what comes next. I assume I’m waiting for results to be examined, and then one of the four doctors or nurses, or perhaps a new one will consult with me and send me on my way with some instructions.

Hour 4… I’m not certain why I have to wait just for them to tell me I can leave.

Maybe if I was rich.

Waiting….

One last unneeded test and one more sit in the waiting room, but I’m told it’s all ok. Some physiology therapy and I should heal.

Only 5 hours.

 

SNL Live Hillary speech

It’s Monday, and that’s a bit later than usual for me to watch this past weekend’d Saturday Night Live. It’s been a pretty consistent Sunday morning ritual, but toady I was a day late.  The first thing I noticed when they said Big Dick and it really looked like he wasn’t supposed to, but that may just be me, over analyzing the micro expressions.

Fake Hillary really hit it home. Before she started, I was worried, because Hillary needs help beating Bernie Sanders, and ridicule of her bad points may sway against her. However, her speech was exactly what she might have wanted to say, inside her head.  The true fact is, Donald is such a terrifying opponent that voters may turn out in record numbers just to pick the opposition.  Hillary could not have won against anyone reasonable… but a Dead congressman could win against Trump.  A sock puppet would probably win.

Now this is sadly, more insulting than it needs to be towards Hillary. I think she’ll make a great President actually, and off the campain trail, the first husband can be back in our faces to balance her cold image.  I honestly believe that Trump works for the Hillary Campaign.  His outrageous antics will get Hillary elected, in a year where she might not have.  The people voted a black man into office rejecting her. A white opponent conservative would have not voted for her.

As she says in her speech, you’re stuck in the middle with me.  I think the election 2 year season was probably more than free healthcare and maybe education for colleges would have cost.

 

Well, maybe not that much, but it sure was a long distraction.  TV comedy like Jon Stewart and SNL and all the late night standups are political because it’s just such a show. You can’t help not watch, and the parody of Trump saying he’s the greatest thing since Germany 1941 is a wonderful satire. Educational humour. I get all my American political news with a punch line… and sometimes they’re just replaying Fox news clips unedited.

I made somebody laugh out loud the other day when I was in a meeting.  Somebody spoke up and declared Nancy Reagan had died, or so says his Facebook update.  Another guy quickly brought up CNN and says; Yup. CNN confirms it.  A third fellow says; I’ll check Fox, to which I said; She’s still dead, but on Fox it’s Obama’s fault.

Too soon?

I miss Jon Stewart, but SNL has always been tops in election years for informing us about parodied versions of the players.  Even as a Canadian I know who to hate. (grin)

Which ones terrify me, in a dramatic and absolute way.

 

Hillary Wins!  The first woman President of those United States of ‘Merica.  I have hope, but I’d still rather have Bill in a Mrs. Doubtfire costume. Not because he’s a man, but because he has a big red nose and he’s always laughing or smiling. He is the charming Boiler salesman named Bill.  Hillary is no Mrs. Doubtfire. She’s not Tyler Perry either.

Best Video about Trump you need to see.

 

 

Speaking your Chats

A funny thing happened to me recently when I was involved in a text conversation with a friend of mine. I was laying in bed, chatting with a friend using Google Hangouts on my cell phone. At some point it occurred to me the typing on the cell phone was a little tedious, but I didn’t have a full keyboard or computer near the bed at that moment, so instead I press the microphone button on the keyboard and activated the Google Voice keyboard. From that point on I used my voice to dictate the messages that I was sending into text.

Google Voice keyboard has a very accurate translation system and makes very few mistakes. In fact, I have to do far less corrections than when I am typing, especially on my small phone keyboard.  Google Voice keyboard knows how to spell better than I do. It isn’t always familiar with obscure words, but it actually does an amazing job guessing what I mean from the context of the sentence, and is quite aware of many technology and pop culture words. It even knows to capitalize show titles or movie names most of the time.

Talking to a voice translator is a little different than talking to a human, and you get used to the style fairly quickly. I find I talk slower than I do in person, because I am actually composing and thinking in text sentences rather than  just words I speak. It’s strange at first.

Next, I turn on another APP on my phone, that works in the opposite fashion, and it translates my friends text replies into a voice.  So now I am actually talking and listening to my friend, but still using text messages. It occurs to me how absurd this is. In any previous time, we’d simply be on the phone actually talking. In fact, even Google Hangouts has a pretty good quality voice system that would allow me to call him and talk… or even face to face video chat.  There is also Skype, or Facebook messenger or Apple FaceTime… and yet, we continue using this multiple step translation system to talk for another 20 minutes.

We’ve changed society. People prefer texts to actually conversation.  Well, to be fair… some people, not all.  Certainly phone and voice communication is still popular, but a lot of new generation people are  using text as their main communication between friends and even business associates.

It’s faster. It’s less intrusive. I can send a 140 character or less text to somebody and they can read it without actually having to interrupt their day and talk. They can read it in any mood they’re in and react in any manor they chose, and I’m not witness to that. I’ve just sent a statement and I’m done.  They can reply now, or later or never. We can text back and forth while they watch TV or reading a book. We can even have 3 or 4 of 15 conversations open at once.  We’re learning, through emoticons and emoji how to convey sarcasm or shock or happiness in text. We can convey a smile or a laugh to reward someone for humour.

I’ve also learned the etiquette that, at least between my friends, it’s not rude to just stop replies suddenly. I can be distracted or needed elsewhere.  A text conversation can take hours or days to continue.  It can pick up where you left off, because the words remain on the screen. I love this about texts. I can say HEY to a friend, and not get a reply for 20 minutes or more, and we can continue on for a few minutes, or continue the conversation later.

Texting really is a great replacement for some phone calls. In fact, many people get angry at phone calls. I can text somebody a few times a day with comments, or sweet sentiment or a great deal I just saw at the mall, and even if they’re not answering it right away, they’ll see it.  If I call them, I may have to leave a voicemail, and they probably won’t listen to ot anyway.

I don’t want to talk right now. Text me.

It’s not as much emotional effort. I don’t have to turn on a happy face or a good mood to reply.

It’s just the darn typing that gets in the way.  When I converse with a friend socially, rather than just for utility, I use full words and sentences. I don’t abbreviate things like: R U Happy? I converse in text using the same mental voice I use in words, so that means my replies are often greater than 140 characters. Phones today – or Google Hangouts handle this fine, but it also means replies are delayed a bit. The voice conversion option may seem silly at first, but it keeps everyone happy.  We’re still using the rules of texting, which means the interruptions are on my terms. No doubt my friend was with his wife at the time, and a phone call would be unwelcome, but a text every few minutes seems a lesser evil.  Your partner can still get angry at you texting in certain situations, but that’s the beauty. Just stop. Conversation end.  Pick up later, when she falls asleep.

Note: This entire blog post was written using Google Voice. I edited later, but most of this text was spoken.

Bully Movie gets bullied – and we act shocked.

News story: SONY pulls THE INTERVIEW from it’s schedule. It will not release it on Christmas day because there is fear that North Korea may retaliate. The film is a comedy mocking their leader, and describing a plot to kill him. A plot not to unrealistic, and probably not far from the truth. The spy world has been known to use celebrities in the past.

MV5BMTQzMTcwMzgyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzAyMzQ2MzE@__V1_SX214_AL_I have written about our BULLY society in other blogs. This is an excellent example of a bully film, and the way one person (or a country) reacted. Not everyone accepts being bullied, or mocked in public with a chuckle. This news just broke, and the social media is starting to complain about how awful it is that a movie may be censored and we may not even get to see it because we’re afraid of how the North Korean leader may react. People are scared. Sony is scared.

There are always many ways to look at any situation. I may or may not believe the following rant fully, but there certainly is another viewpoint to be heard, and my brain always likes to think up both sides of any scenario. It does not surprise me that this film may not see release. When I first saw the ads for it months ago, I actually thought it was a parody, and not a real film. I couldn’t believe people would make such a mean cruel film.

Sadly, we live in a bully society where comedy often makes fun of people. Late night talk shows open with a constant flow of jokes attacking both famous people and innocents. YouTube sores to 6 million views when somebody falls down in the street in an embarrassing way. We laugh at them all. Slipping on a banana peel can make you world famous today.

A big publicity script that sends celebrity American spys to kill a foreign leader is a bully film when they use real names. I don’t understand how the concept was green lit to begin with. It’s a real man. If we made a film about how to kill Barack Obama, we might be thrown in jail, even if performed as a comedy.

This movie may have been equally funny had they made it a fictional country and a comical funny leader but they chose to actually make a film about trying to kill an existing sitting leader of an actual country, and mock him and make 90 minutes of jokes at his expence.

Then, everyone acts shocked when this upsets him. It is not totally surprising that a world leader, especially one known to be egotistical to the extreme, and one who values his image of power above all, would object and take action to stop it. This movie was a slap in the face bully move. Mean.

I’m not saying I agree with the terrorist-style atacks on Sony. I think the media treated them poorly too, and I agree with those who say it should not have been reported the way it was… but to say we are not even partually to blame is wrong. If you poke the bear, you can’t complain when the bear tries to eat you.

The Artist Thirds

I go to a lot of places where artists show their work. Not so much official art galleries, but smaller marketplaces and shows. Festivals and public displays where artists rent small booths and try to sell their paintings or jewelry or other hand made work. I enjoy these events and like the idea that I often get to talk directly to the artist creators in person. I almost never have the money to spare to buy this kind of artwork, and in many cases, even if I did, I probably would not. I don’t wear jewelry, and I don’t use pottery or trinkets much, but I still enjoy the conversation, and respect the artist skills.

One of the things I like to say to an artists, is that I believe they have 50% talent and 50% patience, and I don’t have enough of either to be like them. I offer respect to not only their skill, but the incredible time and dedication it takes to do what they do. I like to let them know I understand the time they put into their art is appreciated. I tell them when their work made me smile, and I understand it’s not all about the cash. I can’t give them money for whatever reason, but I can give them the gift of knowing their work made someone happy, and they are appreciated for the effort spent.

2014-12-14 14.12.01This past weekend, I was at event called; “The bizarre of the bizarre” and it showcased a more unusual or odd side of art. Lots of skulls, and twisted designs with weird styles. Stuffed plush Zombies and other sculptures and paintings that fit the description bizarre. Even if I didn’t like the content, I still wanted the artists to know I respected the work. I tried to compliment everyone on their skill, even if I didn’t especially like the blood and gore of the piece.  For the works that had obvious time consuming obsession, I used my line; “I always say an artist has 50% patience and 50% skill”. I certainly couldn’t sit still long enough to do this sort of thing.”  It often opens them up to talk a bit about how long it did take them.  More often than not, the effort is shocking, and you begin to realize artists need to do it. It is their expression and their passion and their release.  60 hours of work may only sell for $30.

I try to respect the craft, even when a small part of me sees artwork I consider easier. Things the back of my mind says; “I could do that” or even has the nerve to think; “I could do that better”. I know myself well enough to know the truth. Even if I could do the skill, I couldn’t do the patience. I’m, not great at discipline, and although I may be able to start such a project, my attention would wander and it would lay unfinished.

Sometimes art makes me sad in this way. Since I was a child playing mind games, I would often ask myself; if I could have one talent I don’t have, would it be to play music, or to be able to draw. I usually choose drawing. My life would be so different if I could draw. In truth of course, my life would be different either way. The life – and brain of an artist is different than mine. I should not be sad that isn’t me. An artist is a different kind of person, and al to often in the past, I have criticized or belittle it.

Today, this blog was inspired because I clicked a link, and was watching another one of those time lapse – or perhaps they call them hyper-lapse movies about the city I live in. A video set to music that showcases Toronto. There are a lot of them out there, and the first one you see is amazing. You watch it all. After the 5th one, they seem similar, but no less special. Just less watchable for me. I not only lack the patience to be such an artist., I sometimes lack the patience to be a spectator too.

In any case, this time I watched the video with a sadness. In my head, I was thinking that photography is one of the easier art forms. A specialty of seeing, and using technology to capture a mood. I was a photographer. I had training, and an excellent eye. I had equipment. I was good – years ago. As I watched this video, I didn’t see anything spectacular. I just say photos, and video clips set to music. The package was pleasing but (in my head) nothing I could not do. It made me sad I could not be an artist, even when I had the pure skills.  I was missing something.  Not just patience, but the ego. The confidence.

I herby amend my standard artiest breakdown statement.  An artist is more than 50% patience and 50% skill.  I will now split them into thirds, and add the third that is perhaps most key;  1/3 confidence.  A true artist not only has the skill and the ability, but the ego to say their finished product is art. Many people can play the guitar, but only some have the inner confidence to call it art.  Many people can build a sand castle, or turn a pottery wheel, or take a photograph, but some of us – rare special people, call it art – and stick a price tag on it. In some cases, the ego is so powerful, it borders on arrogance, but even bad artists have fans. If you tell me your drawing of a dog is art, I believe you.

No matter how bizarre it may be.

Art is patience, talent and an attitude.  Artists have a mindset.

So now there are three reasons I don’t think of myself as an artist, and that’s ok. I know I’m good at things they may not be. Maybe they can’t remove a virus off their artist computer, or design their own web site. Maybe they even think to themselves late at night; “Gee… I wish I understood Windows 8 like that guy does.” In their eyes, they may even think I have such patience, talent and confidence when they watch me zip my mouse around the screen.

Everyone is different, even when we’re the same.

 

 

 

 

 

Your next new phone.

Apple does a few things really well, but one of the biggest impacts on the cell phone world, is the way they’ve managed to make getting the newest iPhone an obligation of your status.

Of course, not every iPhone user lines up to be first, and many don’t even bother with the new release at all, but we’re all still aware of the concept. New iPhone day is a big deal. It gets more news coverage than almost anything happening outside America.

Even if you don’t own the new iPhone, you’re aware of that fact, and many of you may even talk about it with a hint of shame. I constantly hear people say things like; “its not the newest model or anything, but it gets the job done”.

People who don’t own the newest iPhone still would, if they could afford it without issue. Nobody actually chooses to want the old one… And in time, those iPhone users will upgrade. Not because they have to, but because… Well, because it’s the new iPhone.

Well done Apple.

Now they’ve even made the new ones have a different shape, so you can judge people from a far, without even meeting them.

In the other world of Android, we don’t have that. Android users have a different kind of arrogance, founded by a belief that they have a superior product that the masses just don’t understand. Proud underdogs. The inner battle between iPhone and Android isn’t as pronounced as it once was. As the Android system grows up, it’s polish and style approaches Apple, and each new version of iPhone catches up on features. They each do my things better than the other.

This article isn’t to compare Apples to Lollypops. It is simply an observation that Samsung, HTC and Motorola (among other brands) all have new models each year, but Android masses don’t really know when, and we don’t seem to have the need to care and upgrade.

The article that inspired this blog, was talking about how Samsung was surprised and sad that their S5 flagship sold only 40% as many units as their S4 last year.

I am not surprised at all. The S4 was a great phone and there is no real reason to upgrade. There is no peer pressure to have the newest Samsung. A Samsung phone is to be used more than it is to be seen with. Most people don’t know what is the new model anyway.

Because multiple companies make phones under the Android OS system, we have a bit if an identity crisis to begin with. If you SK me what phone I have, do I say Android or do I say Samsung. For many people, all I need to say is; Not an iPhone. They tune out.
I remember the days when my phone was still a wow factor. I had one before you. I had a smaller one than you did. I owned the first Motorola StarTac and I paid $2000 for that private when everyone else had a 2 pound brick. People would want to see it and touch it.

Those days are gone. He new iPhone have retained a little of that feeling, but only for the few who still bother to be current in release week. Everyone else doesn’t care anymore. Nobody asks me what phone I have. Nobody wants to touch it.

Hey! Have you seen my cool new Smart Watch?

The Gift of No Gifts

One of the issues I’ve had as an obsessive mind that overthinks every scenario of life, is regarding the idea of receiving gifts. I have very few memories of receiving gifts, where I enjoyed the process. That is one serious imaginary memory deficit. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy getting gifts, but I always hate the way I react. It stresses me to receive gifts, because a gift is somebody else’s idea of what I’d like, and seldom live up to hopes and expectation.

My mind pre-imagines all the things I want, but I never tell anyone my preferrences. I don’t like to ask.

Invariably the gifts received don’t live up to my hopes, in many cases, because my expectations were far from reasonable.  Because my sisters were so much older than me, I lived much of my youth almost like an only child with no cousins. My circle of gifts was smaller than almost anyone I knew.  My friends had more siblings, or more wealth, and I always compared my gifts to theirs with disappointment. As an adult remembering back, the reality is that I did quite well. It’s only my memory that retained the negative stories. I’m working on that.

For similar reasons, I don’t like to give gifts wither, and especially hate any situations where we might exchange gifts. The pressure of my obsessions is taxing. I can be in a foul mood for weeks in advance, or even the entire December gift season. As much as I hate the feeling or a bad reaction to a gift given, I don’t like the feeling of passing that on to others. Getting a gift you don’t like — or love, is stressful, because you’re forced to fake happiness and be polite. Giving the wrong gift is a horrible deal for both parties. It’s a failure. I hate failure.

Gift exchanges are even worse, because there is the possible cost differential to add to the uncomfortable feelings. You may have bought a cheap gift, or worse – a gift card or lottery ticket for a few bucks, and the other party spent weeks searching for a perfect present and spent more. When this happens, not only do you have the bad feeling of the wrong gift, but you have to cope with an obvious unbalance of cost. It can effect friendships if I let it. It can cause feelings that linger for years, generating additional obligations to make it up on the next annual birthday or party.

I have somehow managed to work my reputation into that of a guy who doesn’t do gifts. At all. I’m not sure how. It just happened. I don’t give birthday gifts, Christmas gifts or anything. In return, nobody gifts me. I say that I am happier with this arrangement, but I know I’m missing out on the joy and surprise of a good gift. It’s a brain thing. My gift is to not have to worry about gifts.

Now let me be clear; there is a huge part of me that loves getting free stuff. Any gift is at minimum, a surprise, a story, and a memory.  Great gifts are memories all by themselves. I have several ornamental gifts decorating my home, and each time I look at them, I am reminded of the person or event related to that gift. A good gift can be precious.

I suppose I’m not against the idea gifts itself, as much as I am afraid of receiving them in front of the giver. It’s the fact that I have to react live, and show happiness regardless of the gift.  My unhappy and stressful gift memories are of the bad and hurtful reactions. I find it hard to hide my disappointment, or fake it. On the other side of the coin, I can’t stop going on and on with gleeful excitement when I get a good gift. 

I wrote this with my birthday just over two weeks away. I know I will probably not get any gifts on my birthday. I am an adult. Not getting birthday presents is a normal fact of life for single adults. In one way I’ll be relieved, and in another way I’ll be sad.

Maybe it’s time to change my position, and reputation.

 

This Blog is Gluten Free

I went to my favourite Toronto burger place for lunch today, and got a surprise.  Their fabulous Big Guy 7oz juicy burger was now being advertised as Gluten Free. You’d have to be living under a rock these days not to know the term. 

“Gluten Free” seems to be the big new diet fad, with great controversy. Like so many diet options, I have happily remained ignorant to what it all means. I know it means something to do with wheat or grain, but I really don’t know or care. To me, it seems the way the world interprets dietary needs, changes faster than the seasons. First eggs are good for you,  then bad for you,  then good for you again.  One day were told to eat less sugar and then we find out the sugar substitutes cause cancer.

jackpot777I’ve seen online debates about Gluten get mean. One day last year, people started almost randomly declaring they had gluten allergies,  and stores and restaurants were quick to jump on the new bandwagon and offer specialty menu items catering to the elitist diet snobs.  Low fast isn’t good enough for them. Suddenly they can’t tolerate gluten. At the same time, experts chimed in and vocally called them all liars.  Only a very specific few people had real Gluten allergies, and have known about it their whole life. Everyone else just made it up. Maybe they liked the idea that it made them special. Somebody somewhere, must have said Gluten was bad for you, and the world reacted. Blogs and daytime TV can be bad for your health.

Gluten free exploded, like fat free did a decade before. Even Gluten Free chocolate became a thing. I ignored it all. 

I’s already made up my mind, like I do with so many foods before I try them for the first time. Diet food is bland. If you’re taking something out of the food I love, it’s going to taste worse. In my experience, fat free Jell-O is horrible. Sugar free chocolate tastes odd. I fully understand and accept that the things that make my favourite tastes great, are the things that mean scientists keep telling me to avoid, or less experts on the Internet tell me. I wish everybody on Facebook would stop telling me the things I love are horrid – or worse, how they’re made. I don’t need to know.

When Fat Phills decided to go Gluten Free, I was afraid. They were not offering it as an option, like they did with their buns. It was the only way I could order lunch. The sign was clear; all our Burgers are now Gluten Free.

I asked Phill. He’s a great guy and sincerely loves talking to his customers. I trust what he tells me.  Phill says that he removed the breadcrumbs from his Burgers. You may remember about breadcrumbs in burgers. Our moms used to do it too. Not so much as a filer, but as a binding agent to keep the raw beef from falling apart, which is especially important when grilling over an open flame like Fat Phills does. Without a binding agent, the burgers crumble.

What he was surprised to discover, was the happy side effect that they actually tasted better. By changing his binding to use a Gluten Free binding agent, the flavour of the juicy fat actually improved the burger. It seems obvious, but bread also absorbs the juicy juicy grease,  making the burger a little dryer and less tasty.  As I mentioned above, the grease is one of those deliciously evil things that add the flavour. Gluten free burgers were not bland, but actually an improvement. 

Who knew.

So I suspect “Gluten Free” isn’t as bad as fat free after all. It might even make other things better too. I’m curious to see.  I still believe sugar free is horrid, but maybe this is a bandwagon I’ll jump on too.

I will not however claim to be allergic. 

http://fatphills.com

 



http://www.buzzworthy.com/science-proves-gluten-sensitivity-isnt-real-people-are-just-whiners/