Monday, March 14, 2011

My Electric Security Blanket

I was thinking about something. (shocker)

Some of you already know this, and some of you don't, but I had Internet woes recently. Sadly, AT&T is my Internet provider. Long story short, my Internet connectivity started acting up ("intermittent signal strength") one Friday, a tech was supposed to come by on a Saturday and didn't; a guy finally came by that Monday afternoon and I was back up and running after he tracked down a single faulty wire outside. But this isn't my point.

I realized how quickly we've come to rely on some of this "new" technology. I know that's not a revelation, but I wanted to put it out there anyway. I still feel like cell phones and the Internet and even home computers are new, but they've been available to us common folk for over 20 years. 20 years! And they're no longer luxuries or novelties. They're the automobile and electricity of yesteryear: they're necessities.

Kids today can't do homework without Internet access. You can't fill out a job application at home without Internet access. And if you fill one out elsewhere, you still need to know how to use a computer. If you're expecting an important call, the caller is no longer satisfied with leaving a message. They expect you to be available the moment they need you. Dinner, movies, the grocery store, driving, I don't care – if I call you, you'd better pick up the damn phone. Because everyone's got a cell phone. Hell, my cats have one! (They share.) And if I can't talk to you, I'll email you, or IM you, or text you, or leave you a Facebook message. (I could rant a whole post's worth on all that crap, but I'm trying to lighten up so @Christy will still like me.)

But this isn't my point either.

My Internet was down for about four days. Three and half really. And I...was climbing...the friggin'...walls. I felt like I'd been dropped on the far side of the moon. (Not that the near side would've been any better, but you know what I mean.) I felt so out of touch and cut off. And it was ridiculous. My phone worked, my Internet worked some of the time, I saw neighbors, went to the store, watched cable TV – and still I felt completely out of it. I was almost giddy when the dude said everything was fixed. I pumped his hand and clapped him on the back. It was like I had a new lease on life. And I didn't. It was just my freakin' Internet, people!

My point (finally) is our complacency.  I realized just how reliable these things truly are.

I get unreasonably frustrated when I try to make a cell phone call...and it doesn't go through. Or I try to text someone won't send. Or I try to get online...and my modem is flashing that steady, smug uh-not-today-buddy red light. I'm like, "Bu-, bu-, how can this not be working?" And I forget that all this stuff works, like, 98% of the time. My body breaks more often than that. And this stuff works flawlessly. Most of the time, my calls go through without a hitch and the reception's crystal clear. My Internet access allows me hours of uninterrupted pleasure without so much as a hiccup. My computer (an obscenely overpriced but cool-as-shit iMac) is the most reliable piece of machinery I've ever owned, and works perfectly all the time with virtually no maintenance.

But —

When these things act up (and, like all conscious, living things, they do), omigod – I'm a mess. I'm...untethered. I'm panicky. My heart starts racing, my palms sweat, my mouth goes dry. My mind starts spinning scenarios of having to replace everything I own and how I won't be able to afford to – what am I gonna doooo? – and I'll have to go to the library for the rest of my years to access the Internet and use pay phones or pester more fortunate neighbors to make phone calls and I'll have to move and start taking the bus and eating cold dinners and make do without air conditioning or running water and my cats will leave me and...AAAHHHHH!!!

So. That's what I was thinking about.

Have a nice day! :-)

(My cats don't really have cell phones. Yet.)


  1. You posted something new! Yay! And I'm #1. Well, I'm the first commenter. I think @Christy is your #1. LOL!

    Isn't it kind of crazy that we expected all of our tech stuff to work all the time without breaking? I mean I really get upset when I'm at home and I try to log on and realize my internet is down. I feel like I've been cut off from the whole world. I can't email, or do my banking, or pay bills, or read news, or anything. Crazy!

  2. @Steven I came on to read what was happening with your other post and saw you had a new one. Hooray! Gotta do this quick because I'm gonna be cut off at work. Oh nooooo!!!

    I'm without a computer at home and it's awful! I'm saving for a new one now, but I didn't realize how much I've come to rely on computers for doing everything now. Like @Shay said, banking, paying bills, reading news, emailing, everything! It's driving me nuts!

    I never thought about going to the library on the weekends. I know you were joking, but hey, thanks for the idea @Steven! LOL! I've been going to a friend's house, but it's kind of odd to say "Can I use your computer while I'm here" every time I'm there.

    Anyway, great post. And now I have to disconnect myself from the online world again before I get caught.

  3. @Steven: You sound like my children when the power goes off and they can't play their video games :-). Let's try to remember what we did when we grew up, we played outside, we read books, we played card games, we enjoyed each other’s company. We have lost that with technology.
    A friend of ours is using forced family fun with her kids, where they do something fun as a family. We are going to start doing that we ours.

  4. There was a recent Facebook quiz that asked what three things I must have next to me at all times. Sadly, my response was: a computer of some kind, my cell phone, and water. The water is good. The other two, maybe not so much. I’m tethered to tech, and I expect it to work 100% of the time. If it doesn’t, I begin to get queasy. Then I begin to calculate what percentage of time it’s down, and what my options are for replacing it with something more reliable. I mean, I can’t be out of touch for even a second!

    I recently ditched my cell phone service with AT&T because there were more times their towers were mysteriously “out of service” than in service, so my phone had become an awesome paperweight. But the worst of it was that they kept trying to tell me my phone was the problem, not them (funny that all the AT&T phones in my office and in the town I live in magically had problems at the same moment and AT&T still refused to log service area work orders). Believe me when I tell you that the Verizon guys were very amused when I marched into their store one night and asked, “You sell phones, right? And you actually provide cell phone and texting services, right? And at this very moment, if I had a phone and service with you, I could actually make a phone call or send a text and it would go through?” The answer to all was “Um, yeah.” My response? I put my AT&T phone on the counter and said, “Well I can’t with AT&T, so sign me up.”

    @Steven is right, most of the time our tech works without fail. It is generally some of the most reliable equipment and service we own and pay for monthly. Which is why when it fails it’s so frustrating. I unreasonably expect perfection from Skype, my computers, my wireless router, Verizon, Comcast, my cell phone, my e-reader, Google, Blogger, and more. Luckily for @Steven, I don’t expect perfection from him, even though I think he’s awfully close to it. ;-)

  5. @Steven - Are you sure your cats don't have cell phones? Perhaps they're secretly communicating with @Sasha, @Tina's cat via text. :-)

  6. OK. I missed a coule of things in my first post because I was so excited about being the first.

    @Steven LOL about your cats having or not having a cell phone! And I think @Christy would love you even if you ranted a bit. :-) The line about the smug modem light was great! I've witnessed it on mine! And your last paragraph...LMAO!!!

    @Christy I can see you and your little 5'3" self marching into the Verizon store and asking all those questions, then plopping the AT&T phone down on the counter! LOL! Awesome! Btw, I think AT&T is the worst. They're always blaming service area problems on my phone too. I've been without service for DAYS. And then they only give me a little $1 or $3 credit AND THAT'S ONLY if I call them back and ask once service is restored. Bad. When my contract is up I'm leaving them too.

  7. @Shay: For this brief yet special moment in time, you are, indeed, Number 1! Numero Uno! Lead Post Chick! (And now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress...) LOL!

    @Tammy: Glad you managed to sneak on early so you could see this post from the git-go. :-)

    @Christy: I'm just picturing your cute little 5'-3" self slapping down your piece-of-caca AT&T phone in the Verizon store and all the 20-something workers behind the counter looking at you (down at you) with fear in their eyes! LOL!

    @Trey: LOL! I wouldn't put it past them. I love them, but cats are...sneaky. And smart.

    @Amanda: "Forced Family Fun". I totally get where parents would be coming from, insisting that the family get together for fun as a group. But it sounds like parole! LOL! I do remember playing outside ALL THE TIME growing up. We played street football, we went oh long walks by the creek behind our house, we went to the park. I doubt kids today even miss that because they never really had it. Atari kept us up late, but during daylight? We were outside. (sighs wistfully...)

  8. @Amanda: Missed your compliment. Thanks! :-)

  9. LOL! Yay! Today I'm glad I forgot the invisibility cloak so I could be the Lead Post Chick! :-)

  10. @Shay: OMG! We wrote almost the same exact thing about @Christy stalking into the Verizon store! Too funny!

    I called AT&T this morning about getting a credit on my bill for the 5 days of missed service. Their "fix"? $6.70. Woo-hoo! I can go out and get...nothing! By comparison, I had to return something to Amazon today also. Without any hemming and hawing, they FedEx'd me a replacement item and emailed me a shipping label to return the defective item. That's customer service. AT&T SUCKS!

    Glad you liked my last paragraph. I was trying really hard to convey my abject horror when something stops working! LOL!

  11. Wow @Steven! You could take @Christy out for...well the gas in the car would eat up your $6.70 so you're screwed. LOL!

    I've heard only horror stories about AT&T's customer service. Bad, bad, bad!

    I'm impressed with the service you got from Amazon! That's the way it should be with EVERY company. What happened to customer service? It's so frustrating.

    And yeah, it is funny we wrote the same thing about @Christy and Verizon. She's just so cute and sweet, but I can totally imagine that scene! LMAO! Good for her!

  12. Great post man!

    Watch the cats. I agree with @Trey. Likely they are testing @Sasha even as we blog. Sneaky, sneaky.

    We have ways of taking care of that smug look on the modem. Shall @Sushi and I as Security "handle" it?

    I want a cool-as-shit iMac! For free of course. I am Head of Security and Treasurer.

    That last paragraph... Chill out dude. That's why you have @Christy. ;-)

  13. @Hooka: Thanks, dude! :-)

    I'm picturing a couple of goombahs from "The Sopranos". "Yo. You want we should...handle it?" LOL! But you can't handle technology. Disrespect it remembers.

    You wanna Mac? Hey, you're Treasurer. So treasure!

    LOL! It's kinda funny. @Christy and I freak out about things, but it never seems to be the same thing, so we take turns chilling each other out. Sigh...;-)

  14. @Amanda no offense, but forced family fun sounds like torture! Nooooooo... Give me tech fun! LOL! I'm just kidding! I think it's a great idea. Too many families today have lost touch with each other because they don't interact and play board games or do things outside as families. Good for you!

    @Steven we are way too connected now days. I can't leave my house without my phone and thank God it has internet access on it so I can check email, etc. on it! What would I do without it? I even keep track of my kids on it!

    @Christy OMG that Verizon story was great! I'd love to do that! I'm with AT&T until November. After that, I'm leaving them. You're questions and them smacking that phone on the counter were the best! Can I steal your lines? LOL!

  15. @Steven that's why you're a great couple. You don't freak out about the same stuff and you can chill each other out. That's the way it's supposed to be. :-)

  16. @Steven you're right about tech. It has a loooooong memory. We'll let the smug modem be. For now.

    Um, we have a budget issue El Presidente. There ain't one. iMac doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.

    You and @Christy are just like my wife and me. We freak out over different things, and whoever is calm is always able to chill the freaker down. Sounds like you're made for each other, just like we are. It makes for a great relationship. I can't think of anything we've really gotten upset over because one of us is always able to be the voice of reason. Perfection.

  17. @Steven: You last paragraph was just so, so, so pitiful! LOL!

    Seriously, really good post.

  18. You seem to have a title theme going that includes electricity.

    - When Bright People go Dim
    - My Electric Security Blanket

    Wondering what the next post will be. Is this just a theme for March or will it carry over into April? Just something that made me ponder.

    Now for your current post. Love it! :-)

  19. @Steven. I'm using a special cat to English translation software program to type this.

    Little do you know that every time you leave your house, your cats and I communicate via IM, email, and Skype. That's right. They have their own accounts. Don't try to guess their IDs, and no, your name is not their passwords. Oh the conversations we have about the crazy things you humans do! I don't think we'll ever understand you, but we keep trying. And remember the few times you've left your phone behind? Yep, we've even talked on the phone. Thumbs? We don't need no stink'n thumbs!

    Sigh. Humans never give us enough credit. When will you ever learn?

    I hear my human returning. Signing off for now.

    Sasha the Cat

    PS - Sorry about that earlier post. My human caught me before I could use my cat to English translator software.

  20. Who is Sasha the Cat?

  21. Clueless: Read "When Bright People Go Dim" blog; Sasha the Cat makes her debut in that blog, it's towards the end...

  22. @Clueless hmph! You don't know who I am? Whatever, human.

  23. OK, I just read the cat stuff on the other post and LMAO!

    Wait! I just got dissed by a cat while I was away reading? WTF? LOL!

    @Sasha you crack me up!

  24. Forgot to thank you @Amanda! I was so distracted by @Sasha's post to me. LOL!

  25. @Sasha there is no need to be catty.

  26. (turns her back on @Hooka and saunters away)

  27. (flicks her tail, stretches her front legs and slowly lowers herself onto @Hooka's new jacket, rolling on it with a pleasure only a cat can know)

  28. LMAO! You win @Sasha. I'll just take the lint brush to it later. ;-)

  29. @Steven great post! When you think about it, everything does work MOST of the time when we need it and it is a lot more reliable than some of my other stuff. But when it doesn't work, lookout! I get nervous and kind of sick and don't know what to do with myself. I even angry. I mean it should work!

    Your last paragraph was great! Somehow I don't think you're going to be reduced to all that. LOL! I was going to say what others did, that's what you have @Christy for, but I see your response. Good one. Nice that you can calm each other down about different things. I agree with others. You're a good match. Not just because of that but other things you two have written. Good for you!

    @Christy LMAO! You're a tough little 5'3" cookie! Note to self: Don't mess with the Veep! Great story.

    @Amanda forced family night? Ick. Just kidding. Sounds like a great idea. Bring the family together. It's a great idea.

    @Hooka you're a funny dude! Good to have to back! The only the is, you were bested by a cat.

    @Sasha the Cat LMAO! I had to go back and read your first post that wasn't in English on the other blog post. Thanks for letting those of us not in the know what was going on @Amanda. @Sasha I'd like to know what you and @Steven's cats talk about! And I have questions for you! Why do you have to go around in circles over and over and over before laying down? Why do sit in my recliner as soon as I get up when there are so many other chairs to sit in? Why do act like you're seeing things in the room when there isn't anything there? Why do suddenly take off running through the house for no reason at a thousand miles per hour, then come back and sit down like nothing happened? Why do sit and stare at me? Why do you climb to the very top of my bookcase and then pretend you can't get down? Why do lay on my nice clean shirt when I put it on the bed before putting on in the morning? Why do you kick kitty litter out of the box? Why, why, why? I have so many more questions! This is great @Sasha! You can finally give me answers! LOl!

    Seriously, whoever is writing as @Sasha, LMAO. That was perfect. @Hooka, you were great for playing along and the "catty" and cattitude" statements were awesome!

    OK, I think I'm all caught up for the night. Till next time. :-)

    Keep up the great posts @Steven. Good job!

  30. @Shay: You crack me up! With my $6.70, I could take @Christy for a nice drive…around the block! D'OH!

    @Dena: AT&T 'til November, huh? Stay strong, it'll all be over soon. LOL!

    @Cappa: When my shi…er, stuff breaks, I feel pitiful!! LOL!

    @Cheese: I honestly hadn't noticed that! LOL! Maybe March can be Electricity Awareness Month. Then April can be Retro Awareness - we can post with a piece of coal on the back of a shovel!

    @Sasha and @Hooka: LMAO!! "Cattitude" - Very writerly, @Hooka. :-)

    @Night Owl: I swear, I'm starting to expect (and I always look forward to) your late night comments! :-)

    I'm right there with you. I think @Christy nailed it with queasy. When my 'things' start to act up, I actually get a little queasy. Just a sick feeling of forboding, like my tiny little technological house of cards is gonna come crashing down at any moment. I love my toys (what few I have), but I hate the feeling of dependence on them.

    LMAO!- YOU'VE GOT A CAT!! One of mine is currently kicking pounds of litter onto the carpet as I write this.

    Always a pleasure, dude. :-)

    @Sasha: You got some 'splainin' to do...

  31. @Christy
    3 things I have to be near to all the time

    love, water, chocolate
    and 3a)music 3b)mobile 3c)computer 3d)books..... *lol*

  32. @sorei: love, water, chocolate -- wasn't that a Julia Roberts movie? lol!

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. @sorei, I'm with you on the love and water, but I'm allergic to chocolate (sadly, because I love it). Awesome addition of 3a) music, 3b) mobile, 3c) computer, 3d) books... LOL! I'm with you on all of them!

    @Steven, I believe it was Eat, Love, Pray. Or something like that because as you know, not my kind of thing. LOL! ;-)

  35. LOL @Christy and @Steven! The title is Eat, Pray, Love! I haven't read the book or watched the movie either. It isn't anything I'm interested in, but I do know the title. You two are funny!

    @Cheese good point! LOL! What's up with the electrical theme @Steven?

    @Sasha the Cat you are AWESOME! I bow to you dear feline! You are clearly superior to me today, and @Hooka last night! LMAO!

    @Night Owl I want to know the answers to all those questions too! I hope @Sasha logs back on and fills us in! LOL!

    @sorei I love your list!

    @Steven uh oh! I feel a discussion coming on! LOL!

  36. @All: Eat, Pray and Love was actually a good movie.
    @Christy, funny I can't eat chocolate either, I get headache when I do. But I love caramel and hot tamales candy.
    @Steven, if the internet went down worldwide, people would actually have to talk to each other face to face and not online..LOL!!

  37. @Amanda maybe I'll give the movie a try. I can't eat chocolate either. Migraine city! I love peppermints.

    OMG! Talk to each other face to face??? LOL!

  38. Wow! Everyone must be working today! Guess I should be too. LOL!

  39. @Shay: (sleepily opens eyes and looks around, slightly dazed) Work?

  40. @Amanda and @Shay I get migraines from eating chocolate too. Bummer! People forget all the time and give me chocolate for Christmas, my birthday, etc. It's a bummer. :-( I just quietly take it to my mom.

  41. All: I am on my lunch break :-) Forced Family Fun is not bad; we get quality time together as a family and the kids aren’t playing video games all the time. We started this new card game called B.S. I think you all know what B.S. stands for but we have children. The other night we played that game for almost an hour and half, we all had a blast. I didn’t think we would but we did and now they want to play card games instead of video games, so go figure, forced family fun. That’s a good thing when you have teenagers!!

    Ok the Sasha the cat and Hooka, cracked me up. I love cats but we have a dog named Charlie. Charlie would love chasing Sasha!! Just kidding!

    Ok back to work!

  42. @All: I deleted a comment I posted earlier, 'cos I think it would make a better blog post rather than a comment. ~ El Prez

  43. @Steven: when you were waking up, I was finishing up my 3rd meeting of the day ;-)
    First one started at 8:00 a.m. on the drive to work (handsfree of course)

  44. @Humans, know that I do intend to address all of @Night Owls questions. Perhaps as early as tonight. Perhaps not. (yawn) I have some catting around to do today, which, of course, is much more important.

  45. LMAO at whoever is posting as @Sasha the Cat! That is the best! You have no idea how dead on that impression is of her would be if she could write or talk...or is it an impression? Maybe she is using a cat to English software translator! LOL!

    Anywho, it's really funny and I think you're awesome, whoever you are! Thanks to everyone for making me feel so much better when she did that yesterday! I couldn't believe it!

    Oh and @Sasha, I'd like to know the answers to @Night Owl's questions and many more! Like why do you insist on tearing up ONLY important papers? LOL!

  46. @Steven. I'm noticing none of your followers except a few comment (@sorei, @Christy, @Denise, @Tammy, @Grey Goose).

    Why? Where are all those other people? Come on people! Post comments! I'd like to hear what you have to say! :-)

    Really, I would. :-)

    Are you reading this blog? Show yourselves! LOL!

  47. Shay: Hey did you forget about me? I am posting :-)

  48. @Shay: That's a good!

    @Amanda: Let's make this perfectly clear: You are a cabinet member, but you are not officially "following" me/the blog, so that's why @Shay dissed you! LOL!

  49. @Steven, as Secretary of Defense do you want me to pull out my gun? LOL!!

  50. @Shay, I'd like to know where all those people are and why they're all so silent too! Speak up! Surely you have opinions. LOL! ;-)

    @Amanda, good move Ms. Secretary of Defense! I knew I was right in nominating you! :-)

  51. @Night Owl, you can't fool me, I'm not a dog. I know you're human and not an owl.

    As for your questions.

    Why do you have to go around in circles over and over and over before laying down? It's good aerobic exercise and makes you wonder.

    Why do sit in my recliner as soon as I get up when there are so many other chairs to sit in? We're still trying to figure out why you so rudely keep asking us to leave our recliner once we're comfortable so you can sit in it. I mean really, as you pointed out, there are so many other chairs to sit in.

    Why do act like you're seeing things in the room when there isn't anything there? How do you know there isn't anything there? Are you insinuating we're imagining things, or that we're just a little crazy? Actually, our keen eyesight is one of our superpowers, and we're seeing tiny alien spy satellites sent to gather intelligence on human earthlings. We tell them all your secrets.

    Why do suddenly take off running through the house for no reason at a thousand miles per hour, then come back and sit down like nothing happened? I'm going to ignore your grammatical error in this sentence, because it would be rude of me as a superior being to point it out. The answer to your question is, simply to mess with your mind.

    Why do sit and stare at me? We're trying to decide if there are really thought processes happening in your head, or if you're simply staring into space. Well, that and sometimes you have a Cheetos mustache and don't realize it, and we find it funny.

    Why do you climb to the very top of my bookcase and then pretend you can't get down? Because it amuses us to see you climb on chairs and stools to rescue us, when just jumping down would be so easy for us.

    Why do lay on my nice clean shirt when I put it on the bed before putting on in the morning? We want you to remember us as you go through your day with a bit of our fur attached. It's our little way of saying we love you.

    Why do you kick kitty litter out of the box? Um, duh. To make more room for, well, you know.

    @Tina, you asked, why do you insist on tearing up ONLY important papers? You have important papers? I wasn't aware. It all just seemed like excellent material for sharpening my claws.

    There you have it humans. I hope you realize what a rare gift this is. If you'll excuse me now, I have to go hit a plastic ball with a bell in it against a wall. It's what my human expects me to do during her favorite television show.

    Until later,

    Sasha the Cat

  52. OMG! LMAO! @Sasha the Cat you rock! Your answers are great! I know, you would agree. :-)

    My favorites are the alien spy satellites, the kitty litter, and the Cheetos mustache! Very funny! You actually had me laughing out loud tonight. Thanks! I needed it after having a very bad day. :-)

  53. OK. I just happened to check this tonight to see what was up and saw @Sasha the Cat's post.

    I'm now afraid of my cat. LOL!

    Very good!

  54. Ditto to @Sasha the Cat LMAO!! I love it.

  55. @Steven I think you've lost control of your blog to @Sasha! LOL!

    What was your topic again? LOL! Just kidding. ;-)

  56. @Sasha the Cat, I know you already know this, but it must be stated. You are a Goddess! LOL! Awesome post, my feline friend!

  57. LMAO!!!

    Sasha! Wow! I don't know what to say, oh Queen of the Felines!

    Thank you for answering my questions. I don't agree with your answers, but I guess that's a conversation I need to have with my cat, and it seems we have a lot to talk about. LOL!

  58. @Steven64 I like your post. I was reading some of your others too and enjoyed them. You should be proud of yourself. New blog, but alot of interest and comments.

    I wasn't going to saying anything, but doggone it that cat thing is funny! I like the answers to the questions. Did you write that too @Steven64?

    Keep up the good blog. I'm not a big commenter, but tonight something told me I should. You're a good writer.

  59. Not following you yet, but I did see the subscribe buttons above the follow thing (get rid of that option). I say this because someone mentioned followers above. If you want more followers and ACTIVE followers, you might want to move the follower section up higher and move the subscribe lower or get rid of it completely (I'd get rid of it). It's what I'd do. You have to scroll down kind of far to find the follower section.

    Make it easier for people. I'm a blogger too and I like seeing people follow me. I moved mine to the top and got rid of the subscribe option. My followers went way up.

    Just a tip from one new blogger (started in November) to another. Maybe you like the look and maybe you don't care about how many followers you have, but I know to me it was kind of a validation thing. It made me feel good to see my followers go from 4 to 104.

    Anyway, my suggestion, move it to the top and get rid or or move subscribe waaaay down. Otherwise people won't be as likely to follow you.

    Also, mention your blog every chance you get. Facebook, Twitter, in your signature of your emails (under your name), get listed on other blogs, and there are services out there to promote your blog for free. Oh, but you need to list blogs you follow as a courtesy (on the right side of your blog). If they list you, you should also list them. It's blog etiquette. I'd add that under followers.

    Also, comment on other people's blogs. Sometimes people will click your avatar and see you have a blog and you'll get people that way too. It's also a good way to get other bloggers to promote your blog if they like it. You can also ask the moderator if they mind if you promote a particularly interesting topic by including a link to that topic on your blog. I did this a few times and got tons of followers who now comment.

    I like your blog and want to see it succeed. You're off to a good start, but mine did this too. I had TONS of comments and interest for two months, and then EVERYONE lost interest and I eventually went down to 0 comments. Made me feel bad. I started promoting it and they remembered and started commenting again.

    I mean we blog because we want to be read, so don't be afraid to promote yourself every chance you get. It's how you grow and keep your followers.

    Sorry for this long, completely unsolicited advice comment. I couldn't sleep and this is what happens. LOL!

    You are good! Keep it up!

  60. Clarifying my first sentence (I'm tired). Get rid of the subscribe option. Keep the followers options. Move followers up higher.

    Um, maybe that's all I needed to say in the first place. LOL!

    Good luck to you @Steven64! You write well!

  61. Last thing I promise then I'm going to bed. Either move your rules of engagement under followers or get rid of it too.

    I'd just move it under followers.

    So have your photo of the cat. Then followers. The rules. Then archive. Then about you. Or the last two could switch.

    But definitely move rules under followers.

  62. @Mary & subscribe option

    getting rid of it would mean automatically that I would really follow the comments anymore. Once they go in my inbox, I read them, or, if there are too many, I click the blog to scroll down while reading. And then maybe, like now, commenting.

    Having to click the blog all the time to check if there are new comments is something I would not do.
    So I love the subscribe option, it makes me stick to the blog.
    (or did I get you wrong? maybe you meant it differently...)

  63. ...correction:

    getting rid of it would mean automatically that I would really NOT follow the comments anymore.

  64. Good point @Sorei. Like I said, I couldn't sleep and I'm tired. Never comment when tired. LOL!

    Keep the subscribe, but move it under followers. I'd still move the rules of engagement under followers and subscribe. Once people read it, they likely aren't going to again. I just think followers needs to be under the photo of the cat.

  65. @Mary
    don't get me wrong, I see your other points.

    you're welcome when being tired. I am happy I am not the only one being a bit "special" when being tired.
    Actually I tend being VERY dim up to enormously stupif when being tired. Got awarded for idiot of the night once. lol.

    And you haven't even come close to beating me there :D

  66. @Steven I'm following you, but can't sign in with Yahoo. Sorry.

    @Sasha thank you for the answers! Why do I feel like I need to call you Her Majesty or something? LOL! It was a great way to start my work day!

    Now I have to get busy. :-(

    Have a fantastic day everyone!

  67. @Sasha: We're honored that you deigned to address our questions, Your Highness. But, as with any devious, power-hungry creature, you've probably raised more questions than you've answered… (dramatic, forboding music swells)

    @Trey: You're just NOW afraid of your cat? I've been frightened of mine for years. LOL!

    @Sarah: Topic? Topic? Did we have a topic?

    @Shay: Yay!!! You have finally taken the pebble from my hand, grasshoppa. Welcome! :-) And, yeah, the Yahoo! thing seems to be a hiccup Blogger hasn't addressed yet. Blogger is very Googlecentric.

    @Night Owl: Cats lie.

    @Joe: Thanks so much for the kudos. That's awesome to hear! I'm glad you like my writing, but alas, @Sasha ain't me. She is a cool cat though. LOL! Glad you chimed in and said hello.

    @Mary: WOW! You've learned a LOT in a short time about blogging. As you've noticed, I haven't been at this very long, so I'm still figuring a few things out as I go. But I appreciate the "Ask Mary" feedback. :o) It's nice to get advice from people who have 'been there, done that'. I'll discuss your suggestions with my Veep and see what's what. (Can't have an Administration without bureaucracy, right? LOL!) I really appreciate your compliments. It's nice to hear that from a fellow blogger. :-)

    I kinda learned what you and @sorei mentioned too: I should NOT get online when I'm tired! LOL! I read the stuff I wrote the next morning (or later that same morning) and I'm like, "What…was…I…thinking?!" LOL!

    @sorei: I actually wasn't even sure what the "Subscribe" thing at the top that @Mary mentioned was for (duh!). I'm glad you commented on it. I'll probably leave it because of what you said, but I might change the order like @Mary mentioned.

    An El Presidente's work is never done! LOL!

  68. Cool blog! I'll be back!

  69. @Passing Through: Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you 'pass through' the 'hood again. :-)

  70. @steven

    subscribe by email and you get all comments in your mailbox.
    You have to subscribe to every new topic again, though.

    I created an account with googlemail just to have an easier access to some blogs, I installed 2 filters though: a) forward every mail to my usual emailaccount and b) delete all mails (then)

    changing order as Mary said might make sense :-)

    even Data is fascinated with your species. Happy that we have your catness around, first contacts are always a challenge ;)

  71. ...maybe I should have said: Lt. Cmdr. Data to be a bit more specific here..

  72. @sorei: If you hadn't clarified, I would've explained Data and his favorite feline Spot! LOL! (Any Trekkie haters, keep your snarky comments to yourselves!)

    @sorei and @Mary: Forgive my dimness. Obviously the "Subscribe by email" link under the "Post a Comment" box is so people can keep track of the comment thread on a specific topic. And the "Subscribe To" box at the top means someone will be notified when there's a new topic on a blog? So people don't have to keep checking back to see if there's anything new?

  73. @Steven

    Actually I am not convinced that both subscribe boxes are for the same purpose, but honestly, I do not have a clue.

  74. "Ode to Spot"
    Composed by Data,
    Addressed to his pet cat, Spot

    Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
    An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
    Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
    Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.

    I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
    A singular development of cat communications
    That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
    For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.

    A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
    You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
    And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
    It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

    O Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
    Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
    And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
    I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

  75. For those not in the know. I didn't make that up.

  76. @Don't Hate Me: OMG! LMAO!

    @sorei: (doing my best Spock) Fascinating, indeed. (raises one eyebrow)

  77. Wonder what Sasha will think. LOL!

  78. @don't hate me

    I remember the episode :-))

  79. Good to know I'm not the only geek in the room! :-)

  80. Totally lost by all this stuff, but I'm gonna let you guys roll with it. LOL! Have fun! Back to work for me. :-)

  81. @Shay

    Star Trek Geeks. A litte strange maybe, but all in all harmless.
    And yes they CAN talk about other topics as well. But this one was pure temptation :D

    @don't hate me
    welcome to the club ;)

  82. @Shay: LMAO! @sorie's right - we Trekkies are an odd lot, but mostly harmless. Mostly. LOL!

    @Don't Hate Me: You've officially solidified your welcome in this room any time you want to visit. :-)

  83. I'm not one, but...

    I ♥ Trekkies! Especially one in particular, but I think you're all really great!

  84. @Christy

    isn't it strange, my husband would say something very similar... :D

  85. @sorei, the funny thing is that although I'm not officially a Trekkie, I did love the original series as a kid, and I can listen to @Steven talk about Star Trek stuff for as long as he wants and not be bored. I think it's awesome! Of course he has to put up with listening to me talk about Lost and Fringe...

  86. @Christy

    I love Lost and Fringe too. :-))
    (and LOTS of other tv series)
    I am still sad lost is over....
    and my husband has to listen to a lot of stuff I tell him about all the tv series *lol*
    I grew up with the original series. Most interesting first contact. Helped me survive my childhood. I am eternally grateful to Spock.
    (Nimoy, sorry Steven)

  87. @sorei I told @Steven a few nights that I really like you a lot, but you just went to the top of my all time favorite people list! :-)

    I'm still sad Lost is over too! @Steven sent me the entire series for Valentine's Day so I could watch it all over again. I'm amazed at all the little things they put in early on, and all the things I've forgotten (I thought I remembered EVERY detail). LOVE IT!

    There are a lot of other TV shows I like too. @Steven and I have several in common.

  88. @Christy
    someday I will watch Lost in the original language. By now I just know the german version sadly. I will try to rent in the public library or in a video store, I love hearing the original voices and dialogues. Germany of course synchronices, something the netherlands never did (I watched my first english movies in dutch TV and learned to love it)

    I have to see House in the original language too someday.
    We are fringing in the 4th season here, I guess... Fringe always comes along with vampire diaries and supernatural, I programmed all.

    Lost was built up (story-arc) real great. Similar to Babylon 5, they payed attention to details. I am sure I did not notice a lot as well.

    Got to cook now...

  89. @sorei and @Don't Hate Me: Oh. My. God. Do you see what you've started? LOL!

    And the geek shall inherit the earth! Moo-moo-moo-hahahHAAH!

  90. Dude. Read. My. Sign-in. Name. ;-)

    Geeks rule! I don't care which sci-fi series you're into, you rock! Especially if you have passion, remember details, can quote dialogue, know titles of episodes, etc.

    @Steven that last line of yours is great!

  91. Oh and girl geeks are just HOT! I know @sorei said she's married and @Christy is involved with you @Steven, but they're HOT! :-)

  92. @Don't Hate Me: LMAO!! Thanks, dude. I'm betting you just made @Christy and @sorei's day! (Mine too, come to think of it.) You should have heard @Christy and I talking about "Fringe" and "Flashforward" last night. Geek Hoedown, man!

  93. FlashForward? OMG! I was seriously bummed when that was canceled before its time! Are you guys rewatching or just talking in general? Would love for that one to come back.

  94. @Tina: I meant to say this yesterday, but I fergot: Thank you for introducing your kitty to us! I know it was entirely unintentional but, honestly, I'm starting to think that's what blogs (or this blog anyway) are all about: unexpected laughter and just goin' with the flow. Glad your cat outed you, if even for just a moment. :-)

  95. @Don't Hate Me: I'm re-watching some of it, but also seeing some episodes for the first time. I watched it from the get-go, but then the network started moving it around so I lost track of it. Now I'm watching it via streaming Netflix and loving it all over again. And I can see the entire 22-episode run back-to-back-to-back. (Kinda goes back to the whole point of this post - technology, gadgets and gizmos.)

    Omigosh, I could probably start a whole new blog about TV shows axed before their expiration date! Now if I was a network!

  96. @Steven I think that SHOULD be your next blog post! I like it! Imagine the comments.

  97. @Steven, how did you let this post go so off track?...LOL. Wow and I was just working all day, still am!! I have two projects due at the end of the month and working on two others so four total, maybe I will see my family tonight!!
    But I do love the post, very funny!! I loved watching Star Trek growing up (the original) I loved Capitan Kirk and Spock. My brother is a big Trekkie fan.
    @Christy I got "Lost" after the first season and could never figure Lost out. Glad you like it. I love reality shows, Amazing Race, Survivor, etc…I love people making a fool out of themselves on national TV.

  98. @Amanda, don't feel bad, a lot of people were "Lost" after the first or second season and never recovered. It was one of those shows you had to watch every single week to keep up, and I did faithfully.

    I'm an Amazing Race fan too. could never do it, but I like to watch them race around the world.

  99. @Christy, I could never do the shows but I love to see where they go around the world. I have never been out of the U.S. and it is nice to see other parts of the world, if only on T.V.

    One of my favorite shows was E.R. I watched it from the time it came on until its finish. I loved that show. I love medical and detective shows. I love Criminal Minds, CSI Miami, etc...

  100. @Don't Hate Me, thanks! You did make my day with the geek girls are hot statement and by calling @sorei and me hot! ;-)

  101. @Don't Hate Me you're right! Geek girls are hot! My wife is a geek girl. ;-)

  102. @Don't Hate Me: Pondering…;-P

    @Amanda: I'm starting to think my middle shoulda been "Off Track"! LOL! Hey, you left out McCoy! (Little Trek Trivia: The actor who played Dr. McCoy was always a little pissed that he didn't get as much press as Kirk and Spock. I know you were dying to know. lol) Reality shows. Hate 'em. LOL! Okay, maybe not all of them, but most.

    My mom keeps trying to get me to watch "The Amazing Race", which keeps winning the Best Reality Show Emmy, but I haven't watched it yet. My ex and I watched the second season of "Survivor" and loved it. But…all the "Housewives of [fill in the city]", "Bachelor/Bachelorette", "Big Brother" and the show with the B-list celebrities in rehab -- I…just…can't…do it. LOL! I have to admit, though, that it's sorta slowing-down-at-a-car-wreck fun to see people making fools of themselves in front of EVERYONE. So I promise I'm not dissin' ya. :-) I'm just more of a "Good Wife", "NCIS", "Fringe" kinda guy. (Fortunately, so's my Veep!) "Lost" lost me after I missed a couple of episodes 'cos the network kept moving it around. (@Don't Hate Me: I could go off on networks screwing fans by moving shows around so we end up missing crucial episodes.)

    Ah-ha! "E.R." and "CSI: Miami" -- now we're talkin'!

    @Hooka: Pooka's hot! No doubt about it. :-)

  103. @sorei: I'm still just amazed as hell that you can watch "our" shows in more than one language. The fact that German is your first language and English is your second makes your comments even cooler. :-) If the "Lost" DVDs were Region 2 (European DVD standard, I think), I'd ask @Christy to send them to you after she was done with them. Dubbing is easier, but it's not always better.

  104. @Steven yeah she is! So is your Veep, @Christy!

    Hey, I think you may have a name for her there... ;-)

  105. @Hooka: Veep! Veep! Veep! (Sounds like the mating cry of a creature from one of the shows I watch.)

  106. @El Presidente - LMAO! I guess you're right! Maybe you need to keep trying.

  107. Wow must be a slow day or we are all busy!!

  108. @Amanda & all

    I will be offline the whole weekend, working.
    see you later and have a great weekend.

  109. @sorei, I know you won't see this until after the weekend, but I'm writing it anyway. ;-) Ditto on what @Steven said about watching shows in 2 languages. I was going to write something yesterday and was distracted by something (that happens often lately). As someone who only speaks, reads and understands one language, I'm impressed.

    @Amanda, it's been very quiet for a few days here and on my blog (mine is really dead). People are either bored with us or busy. Hopefully just busy. :-) Maybe it's just that spring is approaching, and unlike in my part of the world where it's still cold, some places are warm and people are out and about instead of online.

    @Steven and Hooka, Veep! Veep! Veep! LOL! What more can I say? ;-)

  110. @Christy
    thanks for being impressed. :-)
    I like the english language, and language as such is important to me, as an instrument, I try to use it carefully.

    I will be leaving in ten hours. And as long as you post in the up to now exosting hreads I woll be able to read your commenty in my inbox: I can read everything that comes into my inbox. I just cannot respond to the thread, just to mails.

    @don't hate me
    Shall I start listing the tv series I watch?????
    (not now anyway, off to bed)

  111. @Amanda and @Christy I'm still here and reading, but my life is REALLY hectic right now. I won't be posting a whole lot, but I'm reading. :-)

  112. Something is in the air. A of the blogs and forums I'm on lately have been very quiet. Just a couple of regulars hanging out, shooting the breeze. Even when new posts or topics come up.

    It's a phase.

  113. It is a little quiet. Too quiet... LOL! Just kidding. I've been a little preoccupied with work, so I haven't been on as much either. I think @Hooka's right too - it was gorgeous here yesterday and my computer just seemed so...cold. LOL!

    @Hooka and @Christy: Do you guys remember the old Crest toothpaste commercials? The one with the Crestmobile and it's annoying siren that wailed "CREH-est! CREH-est!" Well, "Veep! Veep! Veep!" is stuck in my head like an earworm now. Thanks @Hooka! LOL!

    @sorei and @Denise: The fact that we know you're still here, reading and (hopefully) chuckling is good enough for now. Y'all just take care of your bidness. :-)

    Now I'm gonna go outside and...well, I'm just gonna go outside. ;-P

  114. Where ARE all you people????????

    It's still freaking 32 degrees where I live and I'm in the United States! I hate you all!!!!

    Just kidding. But it really is 32 degrees outside right now and I'm tired of being cold!

    We won't have spring where I live until sometime in JULY!

  115. @Lucy don't feel bad. It's 38 degrees here and we're in the same boat as you. Won't warm up for a long while. Kind of tired of hearing about how great the weather is in parts of the south at the moment. I had a friend in Dallas write me to regale me with tales of wearing shorts and sandals yesterday. Wanted to simply write back, well, I won't use the language I wanted to use. But I didn't because we've been friends since grade school and I rub it in July-September when we're not as hot here.

    Ready for spring though.

  116. We're only up to 41 and it's 9:28AM. High expected of 53, so I guess I shouldn't complain compared to @Lucy and @Montana, but it's still cold and not spring weather.

    You do all realize that the first OFFICIAL day of spring is Monday, March 21, don't you? Who made that up? Some southerner no doubt. Sorry if I'm insulting southerners, but right now I could use some real warmth that actually stays and doesn't go back down into the 30's like it will TONIGHT!

    So @Steven I like you, but shut up about your pretty weather! LOL! ;-)

  117. After losing power for a week after hurricane Isabel and having no ice, water, milk or perishables available in the grocery stores...I realized just how dependant I was on others/technology for survival...All my fish in a 175 gallon tank died...My food all defrosted in a few days...We grilled what we could and ate like kings for three days...After that we ate from cans and bathed in cold water that was unsafe to drink...It was a huge slap of a wake up call. Then 9-11....and I realized how either a natural or terroist disaster could leave me totally helpless, useless and probably dead after a few weeks because of NOT having any survival skills/supplies without technology/electricity/gas/water-sewer/groceries....Forget the laptop, tv and video games....BASIC SURVIVAL!
    When the Washington DC sniper held me hostage in my house (Fear of going outside) I decided to build a cabin in the boonies near wildlife (food that doesn't come on a pretty pink foam tray wrapped in syran wrap) I put in a real fireplace...and built on a fresh water lake across from a salt water river....I keep the place stocked with canned foods/water and supplies to last for weeks and weeks...I rotate the food out often for fresher stuff. If something happened... I could go there and hide out for months. We have no cable or satelite tv...No computer access and the coat closet is loaded with board games/cards and puzzles...but...I just replaced my water heater...refridge and paid 700 for my car when it failed inspection yesterday...UGH!!!! It all seems so trivial when I look back those years of disasters and the reality of how dependant we are and yet how incredibly naive and unprepared we are if a sudden disaster takes just the electricity from us...It's all downhill in just one day when the freezer starts defrosting your food...

  118. LOL at @Shay's last sentence, and agree.

    I like you too @Steven, but... ;-)

    Hope you know we're just ribbing you.

  119. Wow @Anonymous! I feel so dumb for complaining about the weather now. Really. :P

    I can understand how you feel. Seemed like we went through a period, and sometimes still are, of one thing after another happening that made us realize how quickly we could be rendered incapable of taking care of ourselves for more than just a day or two due to a disaster of some kind.

    I'm sorry you went through all that, but glad you came out of it alive and well. If you've got a family, I'll bet you guys are closer than most of us are to ours, and you're prepared if anything happens. I mean look at Japan. What if something happens here and food supplies are cut off and tech is cut off? Are most of us prepared? Probably not.

    Thanks for the post. It was a good one!

  120. @Lucy, @Montana Checking In, and @Shay: Brrrr! LOL! I just had to throw that in, obnoxious and insensitive as it is. BUT — in about a month, I'm gonna be bitching about the heat and humidity. I'm in Austin, and it stays friggin' hot for about 9 months out of the year and it's miz-er-a-BULL. And @Shay, you can diss southerners all you want; I'm not one em, I just live here. LOL!

    @Anonymous: I'm with @Ditto. I feel like a whiny wimp complaining about a little heat or a couple of days without Internet access. I'm lucky to have never experienced a natural disaster first-hand. What I've read about Haiti and Katrina made me queasy though. I suppose I'd survive, but I don't do discomfort well. I don't even go camping. I'm glad you survived through it all, and it's kinda cool that your built your refuge in case the sh*t hits the fan again. And again, as @Ditto observed, struggling through a disaster at your cabin might have a minor silver lining in that you and your family would get to spend a LOT of time together getting back to basics. (Shades of @Amanda's 'forced family fun'.) Please don't mistake my comments for flippancy or sarcasm. Going through something scary enough to prompt you to build a survival getaway is no laughing matter. Thanks for sharing your experience here.

    On a slightly higher note…

    @Lucy: "Where ARE all you people??????" cracked me up! ;-P

  121. Crap. I meant to mention one more thing that @Anonymous made me think of.

    I truly, truly don't wish bad fortune on any country's people, but – and I'm not even sure how to phrase this without it sounding insensitive – if disaster has to strike, at least it finally struck in a country with the infrastructure to deal with it. Japan is a first world nation (as opposed to third world) and they have the resources to address their people's needs. At least more so than Haiti or Indonesia. (Don't get me started on Katrina though. We should've been able to do better here.)

    Again, I'm not trying to make light of the plight of the Japanese people during their time of tragedy. Rich or poor, the sadness is the same.

  122. @Steven and Ditto...I didn't mean to make anyone feel bad for complaining about weather or the internet! LOL It was meant to point out JUST HOW INSANELY dependant we ALL are on technology (both the small and big stuff)...Even the elderly or folks who can't afford cell phones or computers or those who managed to stay behind the ever evolving technology waves...WE ARE ALL affected when technology fails. Unfortunately it takes more than the internet going down for a while to wake people up...My experience and lesson was simply not to forget the simple ways of life and leave it all to technology. No one can really prepare for what happened in Japan; they are the leading technolgy masters and if they can't get out of this...whooo boy, we in some deep shite!
    Just consider keeping a small survival kit in a plastic container under your bed or in a place in your house where you'd go for shelter...Then anytime you hear of some unfortunate event, take that time to check the dates on your supplies and switch out old stuff for new stuff. It may seem a little over the top, but it won't if something happens and no one can reach you for over a week....You'll be glad you had some sense of basic survival! (PS. if you pack cans...pack a can opener! hehee...and matches if you pack candles...yeah)

  123. @All the Weather Stinks Because It's Cold People...

    I'm with you! It's 10:40am and only 37 degrees outside. I promised @Steven I'd go workout, but I really don't want to leave my warm little condo. I'll do it, but I REALLY don't want to. :-)


    You're completely right about most of not being prepared and needing to be. I'm not. If something happened today, I'd be in trouble. I have a few canned items I could eat, but I have no water if the water stopped running. I used to make fun of my mom and stepdad because they are very stocked up on food and used to be on water (not sure they do that anymore), but they're right for doing so. It's mostly my stepdad who insists on having so many things on hand, just in case. I'm more of a buy it as I need girl.

    I hope I never have to experience what you've live through, but maybe I should be a little more aware of what I'd do if something happened. Now if we're talking candles, lighters, and matches, I'm all set! I've got enough to keep me in light for a year! :-)

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  124. @Anonymous..thanks for sharing with us.

    On a lighter note AT&T is buying T-Mobile, Arrrh.... I have T-Mobile and planned on sticking with it, now I may jumped ship and go to Verizon when my contract is up June.

  125. @Anonymous: What you've shared is absolutely, positively okay. I kinda put my original post in perspective. When our toys break, it's a pain in the ass; when our necessities break, it can be fatal.

    @Amanda: OHNOOOOOO! I may be extra biased now, but avoid AT&T like the plague! ;-P

  126. @Amanda = DO NOT do anything that has ANYTHING to do with AT&T. Go with Verizon! TRUST ME!

    I speak from experience. AT&T doesn't care about customers. Everything will be Okey dokey until something goes wrong, then you'll be treated like everything is YOUR fault AND they will make it as hard as possible for you to get it fixed or to log a service area work order. I KNOW!

    Go with VERIZON! Honestly.

  127. @Jonas: AT&T just left after "fixing" my Internet yet again. It's amazing how many people have had the same experience as you did with their customer service. And poor @Amanda! About 7 of us have warned her to beware of AT&T! LOL!

  128. Know the feeling. Like the post. Good blog. Art is great. Strong opinions. Nice. Keep it up. I'll be back. Not The Terminator.

  129. @Poe Fan72: Not surprised. Thanks. Thanks again. And again. Yes. I try. I will. Please. Glad.

  130. @Steven & Poe Fan72..I will not being going with AT&T. We will wait until June when our contract is up but I am seriously considerly Verizon.

  131. @Amanda: YAY! I think I've warned you off of AT&T on, like, 3 different blogs! @Christy and my mom are both with Verizon, so you'll be in good company. ;-)

  132. I'm going to be off the grid after April 13. Yeah. Really I am. No computer and no internet and no nothing. I need a blog post written by @Steven to read before I go.

    Post something new dude! :)