Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My Kindle

I got my Kindle the other day! I love it – it’s so much easier to use than the other electronic book reader I had, and not just because this one actually works.

First thing I did when I got it home was plug it in to fully charge it. That was Sunday night, and I’m still going strong without having to recharge again. Of course, it’s been off a lot. We’ll see how well it holds its charge on the planes when I’m reading it for hours at a stretch. The manual says it should last several days minimum. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it while out in camp – but perhaps I’ll be so busy with the African Wildlife and my job there that I won’t have time to worry about reading anything.

On Monday I got the manual out and read thru it with my Kindle in hand, familiarizing myself with all of its functions. As I said, it’s very easy to use. The keyboard is really small, though: I’ll have to get used to clicking on teeny tiny buttons if I want to download any new books. But honestly, it’s not that difficult. I could use a pencil eraser if I really got concerned about fat fingers.

Once I figured out how to use the thing, I went shopping! That’s one feature on this Kindle that is just the coolest thing ever: you don’t have to be at home on your computer - you can shop for books from anywhere. It’s all built in to the unit.

The price of books is really cool, too: the new releases are typically just $9.99, and some of the older releases (equivalent to paperbacks as opposed to hard bounds) can be as low as $1.00. I think I even saw some that were free – can’t beat that price.

So far I have the following books, for which I only paid $34.95 (which averages out to be $5.83 per book):

The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Claws by Stacey Cochran
The Walk by Lee Goldberg
Origin by J.A. Konrath
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My credit card gives me points for each dollar I spend (as I’m sure most everybody else’s credit card does). The reason I mention this is because one of the rewards available to me is a gift card to I got all excited about that, and ordered one so that I could use it to buy books for my new book reader.

Unfortunately, now that I actually have the Kindle in hand, I find that my idea just isn’t going to work. There’s no way to use a gift card when downloading books directly into the thing – it just automatically gets charged to my credit card without giving any other options. I suppose I might be able to shop on-line at home and download the books later - I honestly just now thought of that and haven’t had a chance to see if that’s an option or not.

But what I’m thinking I’ll do is purchase the leather holder that’s made specifically for the reader. It’s a nice black leather thing with special clips to attach to the reader, while still allowing you access to all of its functions. It protects the screen from any scratches or dings, and even provides a mental “feel” to the reader, as if you’re holding a book rather than a screen.

There’s also an Extended Warrantee available that I probably need to get. After having gone thru that whole mess with my last one, I can definitely see the benefits to having a warrantee, and will even make sure it’s valid prior to needing to use it.

As for transporting the Kindle to the opposite side of the world, I have a pouch that fits it perfectly (even with the new leather covor). My friend Shelly made it for me a while back. She actually thought I would give it away as a gift to the Africans, but I’ve decided I’ll keep it instead. It’s made of a red tapestry material, with a red trim that turns into the strap that fits just perfectly over my shoulder. It even has a zippered pocket to hole the chords for recharging it!

Thank you, Shelly!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Broken Toe

It’s not really broken - but it sure hurt like the dickens!

I stubbed it the other day, taking a corner in my house too fast. I miscalculated my trajectory and slammed my foot into the leg of my couch. It hurt so bad I almost passed out!

Thing was with me and she got really upset about it (cats are empaths, you know, so I think she got hit by the sonic boom of pain that emanated out from the event) – almost more than I was.

I had been rushing to get my things together so that I could pick up my niece from her dorm room and meet up with Mother to have pancakes that day – so I just put my shoes on and limped out the door without really checking on it.

Afterwards, when I finally got back home again, I pulled my socks off and took a look. It was pretty nasty looking. My toe (the one right next to the pinky toe) had swelled up to almost twice its normal size, and was a sickly shade of bluish-grey with lots of dried blood all over the place. I could manually move it around with minimal pain, so figured it wasn’t really broken – just severely bruised.

Today, 6 days later, I can still see the bruising but the swelling is entirely gone and the pain is only a problem when I stub it again. I’m really trying NOT to stub it again, but as you know – once you’ve hurt yourself somewhere, you are hyper-aware of it and can’t seem to stop bumping it every time you turn around.

Mother offered to amputate it for me but I really think it will come in handy out in the plains of Africa – so I think I’ll keep it for now.

Electronic Book Reader

My brother gave me an Ectaco jetBook for Christmas last year. For those of you not familiar with the item, it is an electronic book reader – plus a whole lot more. It is a spiffy looking one, too: sleek and slender, burgundy in color, with a good-sized screen to read the books on. It not only hold electronic books, but also music and photos.

The problem, however, is that it doesn’t work.

It took me a while to figure that out, too. I am not the most technologically advanced person in the world (which is odd considering the fact that my job requires me to work on computers all day long), and I tend to have a disastrous effect on anything electrical (my own electrical field shorts them out when I get worked up about things).

So when I finally realized that it really wasn’t working properly, I called the company that made it. The help desk there at Ectaco was really quite helpful, yet they really couldn’t do a thing unless I could produce a receipt proving that it was still under the one-year warranty. Unfortunately I’d waited so long to deal with the problem that my brother no longer even remembered where he bought the thing.

So, all I can do is send it back to the company and have them recycle it.

However, I have the World’s Best Big Brother – because rather than get upset at me for not having taken care of the problem back when I first got the book reader like I should have, he bought me another one!

This one is a Kindle, which is more universally recognized and should therefore be easier to deal with. I don’t physically have it yet, but it has arrived and is waiting for me to pick up at his house.

The whole reason I need one in the first place is for traveling. I read a lot, and while spending 17 hours on a plane with nothing else to do I could theoretically read 2-3 entire books. That’s just one flight, too. When you go to some of the places I’ve been to (most notably Mongolia, which took about 42 hours to get to) you have to bring a lot of books just to get there, to say nothing of having to get back. And my next trip – to Africa – I have a limit of 22 pounds worth of gear that I’m allowed to bring, so 6-8 books are not practical.

Hence the electronic book reader.

My Kindle is slim, at just over 1/3 of an inch thick. It’s lightweight, at 10.2 ounces – so it won’t take away anything from my weight restrictions. And it can hold over 1,500 books!

Camryn Amry Schock

I got to meet a brand new baby girl last week, and she is just the cutest little thing.

Camryn was born on Thursday, October 17 – weighing in at 7.6 pounds and measuring 20.5 inches long. She has a cute little button nose and the tiniest little fingers and toes.

I waited to go visit her till about a week had passed, to give her and her parents a chance to get to know each other without intrusions. This is their first child, and is quite a huge deal – as those of you with children know well.

Even though I don’t have any myself, I do love babies – and am looking forward to watching little Camryn grow up.

It’s Just Not Fair

I got a call this morning from a company located out-of-state. They are recruiting for a job by large Engineering firm and had my resume on hand.

They went thru all the requirements, which I meet. They went thru the job description, all of which I can do quite well. They went thru the benefits, all of which sounded good to me.

Finally, after talking up the job to where I was quite excited – they finally get around to the location: Ft. Greely.

Damn. That’s about a 6-8 hours drive from here! Completely not doable.

In his defense, he didn’t know that. That’s one disadvantage of being recruited by a company from out-of-state. In fact, when I said how far away that was, he said he’d go talk to somebody and confirm that the job was in fact located out there and call me back.

He did, and it is.

So now, he’s going to keep my resume at the top of the pile because “Jobs come up all the time, and you just never know.”

I’m wondering how he got my resume in the first place. I don’t recognize the name of the company he works for, and I keep fairly good track of who I send things to. Not that I’m upset in the least, especially if I can land a job like the one he called me on.

In other job news, I attended a job fair the other day at the Sullivan Arena. I hate crowds and I hate the Sullivan Arena, but I hate not having a job even more – so I went. I went early, right as the doors opened, so as to avoid most of the crowds. That worked quite well, except that some of the booths hadn’t arrived yet, so I did miss out on one or two opportunities.

I have to say, however, that the whole event was rather unexceptional. There was nothing there that I didn’t already know about, and had already applied to the ones that fit me. But, I did have a chance to talk to a recruiter who had “lost” my resume, so they will now have no excuse since I gave them another one.

And – I apparently won a drawing! I’m to go pick up my $50.00 gift certificate to Fred Meyers today from the Anchorage Daily News.