Looking dumber aleady

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

After ample wailing, gnashing of teeth and being dragged kicking and screaming into the current decade, I bought a Smartphone.

Yes, technologically-challenged me went from a very basic flip phone, which had become downright embarrassing to have out in public, to the Apple iPhone.  It’s sort of amazing I’m not in traction and suffering from a serious case of whiplash after such a drastic change.

As of this writing I’ve had it 4 days . . . long enough to feel stupidly confident in my ability to operate said piece of modern miracles. Why I’m talking, texting and wasting ti . . . no, playing all sorts of habit-forming games and shopping for ultra-useful apps.

It was a move a long time coming, but when my parents got iPhones and made fun of my stone-and-chisel way it was past time.

The move was mostly painless save for the bit of sticker shock as I upgraded kids’ phones at the same time (I’m presently enjoying surely short-lived, coolest-mom-ever status), but I was sold one that’s “user friendly” and a “good starter Smartphone”.  

Picture me with cellular training wheels, pigtails, and popsicle juice dripping down my arm. I’m trying to take it all in quickly, but I know a little is melting away.

Verizon’s ever-patient Ronnie Chaidez walked me through it all and made what I was sure would be akin to Garth Road traffic at lunchtime or maybe the lesser pain of a root canal, pleasant.

My only complaint, really, is that I can’t plug the thing directly into my own cranium. I mean, there are entire books written on how to fully use the capabilities. Much like my brain usage, I’ll only use a mere fraction of what the hand-held cell phone/computer can do.  

I have issues being totally dependent on a machine – mostly because I know they die and otherwise malfunction. I don’t like being up that proverbial creek without a paddle as I have nearly drowned in it before when precious work and information was forever lost.

And I know all you geeks out there are screaming “back that stuff up, woman!” . . . I know, I know. But I don’t always follow instruction well. I’m stubborn and get in a hurry.

                Besides, a girl needs something to whine about and be rescued from —makes the menfolk in her life feel needed and important.

It really is the highest form of adoration when I hand over my electronics, smile ever-so-sweetly and say “fix it”. And the peacock strutting after said repair is pretty cute, too.

Besides learning how to use the most basic of functions on my new gadget, I’ve also learned that as smart as it is, it can make me look plenty foolish when it attempts to read my mind. (As if . . .  it’s often a mess in there and even I can’t make sense of the contents at times.)

That said, I learned a new word: smartphOWNED. That’s when your Smartphone auto-corrects what’s said in a text message with what it thinks you’re trying to say. It can have some funny and embarrassing implications. You know in 4 short days I have already been a hapless victim and provided a few chuckles.

The phone’s smartness is making me look dumber already.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

An update

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

Every once in a great while, I feel the need to give updates, or life isn’t dishing out anything terribly exciting enough for newspaper fodder. Then there are the things that are maybe a little too exciting to share with the masses. It’s a delicate balance I aim to strike.

That said, recall last week I had been mysteriously cut off from outside communication as my phone and internet service went kaput. That outage suspiciously occurred after I penned words regarding my displeasure over incessant election-time phone calls. Someone wanted to get my attention. It hurt, but I’m still standing.

Verizon showed up after a one-week wait and I’m happy to report the Whatley Household is back in hooked-up-to-the-universe business. Funny, I was just getting used to —and starting to enjoy— being unhooked.

The cold-turkey withdrawal was initially painful, but we all got over it much easier than I anticipated.  The kids even drug out board games, or maybe it was “bored” games.

However, the outage still remains a mystery (still believe there’s a conspiracy involved), even though Verizon workers offered up an explanation: A wire was cut during old-fence destruction and new-fence construction at the Whatley Estate.

I have no problem admitting it may have been our fault, but I’m still puzzled over how that fence project which caused us all aching backs in March caused outage in August.  It’s a mystery—one that will remain unsolved to my demise I believe.

On another front, I left you all hanging on the edge of your seats some weeks ago regarding a slithering uninvited visitor (hey . . . my political phone callers were slithering and uninvited too!) in the Highlands home of Ms. Gladys “Granny” Adcox.

I heard from Gladys via real, handwritten letter (what a treat!) regarding the sneaky snake. To date he, or I suppose it could be a she, has not been located. 

I’ll reiterate my previous statement: Gladys is tough as nails. I’m afraid I’d have to vacate the premises forever, or at the very least until said serpent was located . . . preferably dead, but I’d live with alive and relocated.

And switching gears yet again, Jeremy, the middle child, is still truck shopping. It’s going to be a mighty happy day when that process ends, which I’m thinking may be never.  He keeps working and saving . . . and upgrading what he wants to buy for himself. I’m proud of him, but oh-so weary from being on the constant lookout for potential wheels meeting all of his specifications.


Last but not least, I have somewhat loosened  my stance on being dragged into using new technology kicking and screaming. I now own a Kindle Fire — tablet computer and e-reader rolled into one. I said I’d never go there because I truly love the feel of a book in my hands, but I’m adjusting. Shoot, I might even delve into a smartphone. What’s happening to me? Apparently not much this week.  

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

The time traveler will get my vote

Author: natalie  //  Category: Issues

Roughly three more months. I’m not sure I can take it.

I know I’m among friends . . . No, I consider you folks family, so I’ll get right to it and let you know straight out I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve suffered sensory overload. Thusly, (love that word often used by the great Jim Finley who I’m honored to share this page with) as I sat down to pen this column a big, whopping nothing came directly to mind.

Oh, there’s plenty to talk and/or commiserate about, but it’s as if my mental pipes are clogged and no one thing really wants to break loose.

The Olympics: Sure, stories of great human feats buoyed by raw determination. I don’t even feel qualified to comment as I can’t recall ever making or asking my family to make such huge sacrifices for any similar lofty-level goal. Not to mention, I don’t really care to watch it all. TV is a colossal time waster in my book.

The Colorado movie-theater shootings: The story grows more tragic each day. My heart and prayers go out to the families suffering over loss of life and a forever-changed existence. But I’ve also been pretty angered over the gun-control rhetoric I knew the tragedy would spawn. All I’m going to say is some people just don’t get it. And I know those folks will think the same about me. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

“Oprah shows off her natural hair: Winfrey ditches her usual sleek tresses for her magazine’s makeover issue”.  At first I thought this was totally undeserving of mention, but it speaks of what I was going through as I tried to distract myself from the influx of what today we call TMI . . . too much information.

Tuesday was a run-off election day and I can’t recall any other political contest that has annoyed me more. I have a sneaking suspicion the run-up to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2012 is going to tax my patience even further.

By this past week I was exhausted by hauling in the daily mailings that I swear were the same thing day after day. How much money was wasted and the landfill further filled by stuffing mailboxes for two months straight?

I would have incinerated it all myself, but my neighborhood — and the City of Baytown for that matter—frowns upon large bonfires in a residential area. Although, roasting the mailers over an open . . . uh, never mind. I’m probably about to get myself in trouble.

Did they honestly think I’d read all that? And even if I did, this Jane Q. Public has no way of knowing who to believe. It all sounded so elementary-playground childish. Sigh. If only the stakes weren’t so high.

And as if the above mail chore didn’t have my ire adequately stirred when all I wanted was some reprieve from the incessant whining, my phone rang constantly—even after my bedtime. Yeah, the guy or gal who annoys me the most is sure to win my vote. (Eye roll)

The most maddening part of all: I was “awarded” all that attention simply because I vote . . . every time, consistently, in the “off” years, and in primaries. It’s a sad state, but it’s almost enough to make me stop. That I feel that way angers me even more.

Roughly three more months.  I’m not sure I can take it.

But I’ll vote for the candidate who sends mail and calls promising to take me straight to the day after the November election.