Hitting the ground running in 2009…

January 9, 2009 bsmith101
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Just getting in from cracking ice.  My hands are all blistered…and I am cold.  The ice on the sidewalk was about an inch thick.  It didn’t take me long to decide that if I could only make a walkway…then I would have to be satisfied.  I enjoyed it though…but now my hands are aching me.  And I ripped some skin on my thumb…but I got it done.  Now, I don’t have to worry about someone slipping on ice in front of the house.

Yesterday while it was coming down…the freezing rain and ice…I started 711117871wondering if  it was still true…you know that saying ‘through the rain, the sleet and the snow…”

Well, it is still true.  And I told our mail man as he hiked up to street to our house looking more like an astronaut than a mail man…I told him that I was usps_smalluse1happy to see that that saying was still true.  And he said-

“Yeah, it’s still true.”

But he didn’t seem to be too happy about it…but I was sure happy to see him.  Not that I was expecting anything in particular.  And as I looked up the street I saw where the ice and sleet hadn’t stopped UPS either.  When you pay for these services you want to know that your stuff is getting delivered just like they promised it would…the next day…or whatever you paid for…no matter what.

With all the talk about email through the years…and the possiblity of it replacing the old stamp and envelop system…all I can say is this-

“I hope not.”

Can you imagine not being able to go the Post Office to send out your mail, packages, or to purchase stamps and boxes etc. ?   I can’t.

I am a believer that the more options there are the better off we are.  I don’t mind email…I use it everyday.  And some days several times a day.   But I sure would hate to see it replace my receiving the hard copy of  actual letters, bills etc.   There is something about being able to look at something in my hands…and being able to review it as often as I want without having to turn on a computer to do it…that is what I like best of all.  And I like the hard copies of everything…magazines, books etc… even copies of cashed checks, but they don’t send them to you anymore.  

The only thing that viewing over the internet is probably best for… well, for me…is reading news stories.   I hang onto things…so I definitely don’t need to have any newspapers in my house…or magazines.  I get tons of magazines though…and rarely touch any of them.   But if I were to…I can flip through it at my leisure.  But I can’t read magazines on-line…but newspaper articles I can.   I only read certain stories and have never read the whole newspaper… not even half  of  it.

I get those little on-line cards sometimes in my email…and it is not the same as an actual card.  I barely glance at them.  I appreciate people sending them to me…but I think that they are a waste of time.  They can’t beat a really beautiful or funny card that you can glance at from time to as you want to.

There are companies that no longer print their catalogs anymore…they tell you to go to their websites and see what they have to offer. 

Who wants to do that?

01273011I’m sorry…but there went a sell.  Because I hate going to a website when I am interested in checking out what a company has to offer me by way of products and/or services.  When I buy I’m a comparative shopper…so  I go over info back and forth until my ultimate decision is made.   This means a hard copy of the companies catalogs are invaluable to me.

I am all for technology and advancements in the improvement of how man lives…but some things are more a hindrance than an aid.  When you look at cable television the ability to be able to view a wide variety of  TV channels was a great offer. 

But do you remember when television channels used to be free? 

You may have had a limited selection but the channels were clear for the most part…and best of all you got them for free. And comparatively… I think a lot better… can’t stand all the reality shows.

When you consider it…whether they tell you it or not…most people still nbc_new_york_office_4541watch network television more than the ton of other channels that they can chose between.  The problem with network TV today, however…NBC, ABC and CBS…they offer far less than what they used to.    They used to make movies, run mini-series…and had a lot of other more interesting television programs than they do today. 

Today television offers nothing but a bunch of reality shows and everybody trying to become millionaires.  It is boring…and I just stopped watching television for the most part a long time ago.  And they had the nerve to change over the system this year to force everybody to get a digital television.  The whole thing is one big racket…and I am so glad that ls0177781people didn’t fall into that trap twice but rushing out to pay for radio too.

Lets face it…who needs another bill?

And for something you used to enjoy for free?

And that is how I feel about the Postal system…I don’t mind paying for the service.   And even though today email is free…I guarantee you if the US Postal Service closed their doors today…email would cost us something by tomorrow.   So, I am all for keeping things just as they are right now…because even though the rates go up occasionally the increase is not enough to be a hardship on any of us.

Though I must say that the phone system has changed for the best.  Now, that is something I can applaud.  I remember the day when a single phone 09805161call could have cost me $40 or $50.   Yeah, I like the fact that gone are the days of the $300 to $500 phone bills for long distance calls.  I am so glad those days are long gone.  The funny thing though is that I now don’t have anyone that I want to sit up all night long on the telephone with…like I did back in those days.  But that’s okay.  I’m happy…and I won’t complain.

But you do have to keep your eye on your cell phone bill…because the cell companies will get you if you don’t watch your bills.  And I do mean…get you….and get you good.  You have to closely monitor your 03064371cell phone bills because they will ease all kind of charges in on you.   And definitely look out for charges like ‘roaming.‘  They did that to me…and I had not gone anywhere.

The other thing with your cell phone that you have to be careful of  is that you don’t go over your minutes.  I had a concert promotion thing going on and I had to make a ton of calls…and had a ton of calls coming in.  Before I knew it…my minutes were gone.   I had to rush a $100 to the cell company every day for several days just to keep my lines on.  

They really got me…but I got smart quick.   I quickly revised my cell phone plan.  I never even come close to my total allowed minutes now.  And the plan is much better than the one I had before.  I have a family plan now.  It cut out having multiple cell phone bills to only having one bill and at a monthly cost that averages out to about what I had been paying for just one bill alone before. 

In these times you really have to look to…’how can I knock out a bill or two? ‘ 

  • First thing…get rid of cable.  There is nothing wrong with just having local stations…which you probably watch more often than you think.
  • Second thing…check into getting a family plan for your cell phone service.  It really could save you lots of money…and give you all more minutes monthly.

And this is something my father taught me…

  • Third thing…keep your gas tank on full.   When it gets down to about a half of a tank fill up your car…it will save you money.  And if where you live is like here…the gas prices have already started going back up.  We’re at $1.69 per gallon now…had dropped down to $1.39.  Do you remember when gas $.99 per gallon? 

In my forthcoming book, THE BISHOP’S WIFE…I write how due to technology no one knows anyone actual street address anymore.  Because most people contact each other via email rather than by sending actual letters today.  This is really not a good thing.  (not that that is what my book is actually about…it is a fictional story about a woman…  Well, yeah…it’s about THE BISHOP’S WIFE…and it’s unlike anything you have read before)

At any rate, we should all know the actual street addresses and zip codes of those people who are important in our lives.

s10407201Do you remember the day when you used to remember everybody’s phone number?

Those days are gone too. 

Unless you have experienced loosing a cell phone or breaking your cell phone…you will never know just how problematic not knowing anyone’s phone number can be.  With speed-dialing and all the other quick reference and access technology in the marketplace today…we are using less and less of our brain. 

We have calculators, speed-dialing and I don’t know whatever else.  But our brains are being put out to pasture and on an everlasting holiday. 

Have you ever heard-

“If you don’t use it…you’ll loose it?”

Take a look around the number of  people with Alzheimer’s is raising.  And it is starting at earlier ages.

We no longer have to remember anything anymore.  Everything is done for us.  This really can’t be good.   It may be convenient…but it is not good.  If all of the sudden the electic went out…and you were unable to go up on-line who would you be able to contact?

Do you know and remember every person on your email list off the top of s10625881your head?

And I am not talking about knowing their actual names but their email names and addresses.  I would bet you don’t…and I don’t either.  Who can keep up with all those (alias’) letters and various numbers people go by over the internet. I can barely keep up with all of my own…and we won’t talk about passwords.

But if something happened to your cell phone…if it went dead or became unusable…lets say all the cell companies lost service.   How many people could you call?   Who would  you still be able to contact? 

How many of the numbers in your cell phone do you actually remember?

This actually happened to me sometime this past year when my email carrier’s server was hit with a virus.  I tried all day trying to sign-on and couldn’t…and it was at the worst possible time.  I had emailed myself some 00022381documents that I needed to print out for a class assignment and I could not retrive them.  And the only place I had saved them was in an email that I had emailed to myself. 

It was a good lesson in technology…it will let you down.   Let me say it again…technology will let you down.  Don’t put your trust solely in it.  Some people say-

“Back up everything.”

But even this can let you down.  If there is no electricity…nothing works.  If the cell lines go down…you can hang it up.   Because you will definitely be out on a limb.   Or if the server goes down…yeah, it happens.  Then there is this thing called  ‘out dated formats.’  

Have you ever heard of  that?  

Well, we have all experienced it.  It is when you saved on a floppy  disc…but they no longer make computers with that type of  hardware…or a firewire in-put because everything is flash drives now.

A few years ago the whole Northeastern part of the United States was faced with this problem…of all the electrical lines going down.  I remember it well…I was in New York and BOOM! 

Luckily, I had just finished my editing session or I would have lost everything I had sat there for hours editing.  But I remember the number of people walking the streets with their cell phones plastered to their ears trying to make calls and couldn’t.  They were all lost without use of their cell phone service…and no one could figure out what was going on.

Then cars started riding by with people shouting out their windows-

“There’s a blackout!  There’s a blackout…and there’s no cell service.”

I didn’t have a cell phone at the time so that didn’t affect me.  But I remember hearing that none of the cell phones worked…but the land lines did.  Whether you know it or not…there are far less land lines today than there were some 10 or 20 years ago.  A lot of people have cell phones but not all of them have regular home phones any more.

Since most people walk around with cell phones…the outdoor phones that used to be on every corner…have your noticed that most of them are gone?  And the ones you do see…   Well, most of them do not half work.    And they are so filty you really do not want to pick them up…much less place them to your ear. 

Cell phones, computers, email, laptops, cable etc… all of these things may be great  but do you see the draw backs to them?

Now, there are cars that park themselves…cars with GPS systems designed to get you where you want to go.  I was even in a car the other day that didn’t need a key. 

03248891I don’t know about you…but I don’t feel safe if I’m in a car that doesn’t use a key.  I don’t trust them.  And I definitely don’t want any car parking for me. 

In the on-set it all looks great…I thought having a hundred different channels to chose from was great too.   But soon you all learned something that we  had not been anticipating…they keeping showing the same shows over and over again.  So, what good is having a hundred different television channels when you keep thinking to yourself-

“There’s nothing on television?”

It doesn’t make sense.

“So, why do you continue to pay for it?”

I don’t want a car with GPS.  When I get lost I want to ask somebody and hopefully they will give me the right directions.

I don’t want a cell phone that takes pictures, text messages or has a thousand different ring tones.  I just want a cell phone that is audible.  I s10159891want it so that the person can hear me clearly and I can hear them clearly.  I don’t need to text anybody or take pictures with my cell phone.  I just want a good phone…that is all I need.   And not more charges for things on  my cell phone account that make no sense to have on a cell phone…like texting somebody when you can call them.

Why do all that work of trying to type something out like your cell phone is a typewriter?

As I end this let me just say…that we are becoming too dependent on technology.  We are relying upon it to store and maintain information that we used to easily extract from that thing which sits between our 2 ears…that we now barely use.  And we should all get back into the practice of writing letters…not emails…or dropping a real card into a mail box addressed to a friend or love one every now and then.   There really is something nice and quite special about receiving an unsuspected letter or card in your actual postal mail.

Think about it…outside of signing our signature every now and then none of us writes anything anymore.  I mean physically picking up a piece of paper and then put a pen or pencil to it to write a letter, a poem or something.  We do everything on our computers or in our calculators, cell phones…and whatever else we might have.

Well, one of my sisters has her train ticket to catch Amtrak into DC on the 20th.  I’m thinking about taking 2 of my younger nieces and a nephewDemocratic presidential candidate Obama and that we might drive down the night before and sleep in the car somewhere nearby.  I mean I was at the Million Woman March in Philly…I was in New York for 9/11…and I was at the 25th Anniversary March on Washington

How could I not be in DC for Obama taking his oath as President of the United States of America? 

I know that I can watch it on TV…but when you get right down to it…it is not the same as saying-

“I was there.”

God blessand thanks for reading this blog…and  please be sure to continue to share this blog site with your family, co-workers and all your friends… “pass it on” www.bsmith101.wordpress.com ©2009

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Entry Filed under: Barack Obama,Change,Cities,DC,fuel,gas prices,New York,Obama,Philly,politics,self-publishing,The Bishop's Wife,Washington DC

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