How We Do Things In The Stone Age

Apparently I piqued the curiosity of my Renaissance Man coworker when I divulged that we do not enjoy any television reception, antenna nor cable. I don’t know how much time he has spent pondering how we do things in the Stone Age, but it was obviously on his mind when we passed in the hall today.

We passed with simple head nods and murmured hellos and were nearly twenty yards apart, at the far ends of a long hallway, when he turned to ask me a question.

“So. If you don’t have a TV, how do you get your news?”

I turned and studied him for a moment, a small hint of a smile dancing on my lips.

“NPR and Google News. Oh, and articles that people share on Facebook.”

He processed the information before addressing where he found my deficiencies.

“Well, I watch the news for weather and traffic.”

The laughter inside my head was threatening to overtake my exterior.

“I have a weather app on my phone,” I said. “And Google Maps reroutes me if there are traffic problems.”

And with that, I turned to resume my trip down the hall. Score one for the Cave Woman.

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Stone Age

A coworker today told me that I’m living in the Stone Age. He said this when he found out we don’t have cable. Actually any TV reception at all.

We watch our TV from Netflix and Amazon Prime via our Roku box. I hear that’s how the cavemen did it too. My coworker, on the other hand, recently upgraded from taping his shows to using a DVR.

I depend heavily on my smart phone. It serves as my alarm clock, cooking timer, stopwatch, address book, calendar and day planner, email portal, to-do list, notebook, map, GPS, dictionary, camera, video camera, newspaper, reference book, casual gaming device, and more. I even use it to make phone calls from time to time.

My coworker, the Renaissance Man that he is, doesn’t have a smart phone. Actually, he doesn’t have a cell phone at all. Or a computer. No internet at home. What separates sophisticates like him from stone-agers like me is apparently not technology at all but merely whether you have access to catch the Super Bowl this weekend.

As much as I love watching big beefy guys crash into each other, I think I’ll just stay in my cave. Besides, I can get a pretty good idea how the game is going by watching my Facebook newsfeed. On my phone. While watching Dr. Who on my Roku. And all the commercials will likely be on YouTube by Monday.

Seriously. I Don’t Have TV.

Dear Samsung,

I love my Galaxy S4. I’ve never been the person that buys the newest, hottest phone on the market. I usually buy the one with the operating system that’s just old enough that it doesn’t do any of the things that the salesperson thinks all phones do. And it costs around $50 or less when I renew my contract.

This year, I decided I was tired of having a terrible camera and the inability to do the cool stuff that everyone else was doing. I decided I wanted it all. Maybe it’s because I turn 40 next year. I don’t know. I looked at HTC’s rival phone but went with the S4 instead, mostly because of the superior camera.

And I love it.

There’s been some quirks, don’t get me wrong. When I first got it, it wouldn’t give an audible indication that I had received a text message. I fiddled with the gazillion options and settings and even power cycled the phone but nothing worked. After some Google hunting, I tried turning the phone off, popping the battery out, putting it back together, and turning it back on. To my surprise (and pleasure), that worked.

So I’ve had the phone for four months now and I couldn’t be happier with it. But something happened on this most recent automatic upgrade that has me miffed. You installed a new app: WatchON. This app can supposedly control my TV. It can also suggest TV shows I might like based on shows I watch.

Whatever. We don’t have television, so… thanks but no thanks. I cleared the notification from my notification screen and went on with my life.

The next day, the notification returned. I dismissed it. The next day, it was back.

Okay, fine. I’ll go ahead and set it up. You asked for my country and zip code and then gave me a list of all the television service providers in my area. You didn’t give an option for those of us who don’t have television. Right, because we don’t have a use for this app, do we?

I selected that it wasn’t listed and your app chastised me for obviously giving an invalid location since I couldn’t select something from the list. I exited out and cleared the notification. Again. Eventually, after a week or so of being notified to setup something that I absolutely cannot setup because you don’t think people like me exist, I decided to uninstall the app.

That’s when I learned that I’m not allowed to uninstall this particular app. So let me get this straight.

1) You installed the app on my phone.
2) You keep notifying me (in a large and annoying way) that I need to set it up.
3) You don’t allow me the option to say I’m not interested.
4) You don’t offer a “no TV provider” option.
5) You won’t allow me to uninstall it from my phone.

Seriously. Not everyone watches TV. And some of the others (like us) just watch online or through Netflix and Amazon Prime. We don’t have a television provider.

I finally just went through the setup, picking one of the listed providers. I’m hoping this will satisfy the beast. I hope I don’t get more notifications about how I’m not making use of this wonderful new app. You lost some cool points on this one. Keep it up and I might just try out that HTC next time.

Sincerely,

NO Watch ON

Small Wonders… or Sibling Love

It was a rough weekend. My arms are swollen and itchy with poison ivy, acquired while doing cleanup at a cemetery on Saturday. My husband is still recovering from some severe vertigo that hit him hard on Sunday. Jane was surprised by an early arrival for which she had not packed supplies. And Daryl… well, Daryl beat himself up.

One of our church members found what he thought was a sturdy grapevine at the cemetery and suggested the boys swing on it. He helped Hal swing and then backed up as Daryl took a turn. Daryl swung into the air and then slammed into the ground when the vine snapped, landing hard on his back. He was ok but didn’t believe it. He walked around gingerly and moaned about his back for some time.

By that evening, however, he had found sufficient distraction from his back. At the hotel, he ran across the courtyard to fetch his swimsuit and tripped, severely skinning his knee. Sorry, kid, we can’t let you in the pool.

He was devastated. Hal was already dressed in his swimsuit so Poppy prepared to take him to the pool. A dark cloud descended over Daryl’s face. He looked as though the world would never be right again.

Jane sat down beside him and wrapped him in a hug. She began to talk softly to him, rubbing his arms and leaning her face in close to his. I expected him to shrug her off like he normally would, but instead he listened. She said, “I know how you feel. I really do. I wanted to go swimming but I can’t either.”

“Yes you can,” he responded. “Nothing is stopping you.”

“Yes it is,” she said. “My period started and so now I can’t go swimming. We are in the same boat. Maybe we can watch some TV instead.”

I had a hard time imagining a nine year old boy being comforted by a story of menstrual distress, but to my great surprise, he cheered up immediately. He scrambled onto the bed across from the TV and waited for his sister to turn it on.

Small wonders. I can’t believe she shared that information and I can’t believe the tactic worked. Small wonders, indeed.