A MOMENT WITH WALTDSGIRL
Waltdsgirl and Walter at Gulf Shores, Alabama
It's so nice to be back in the Natural State. Arkansas is so pretty, especially in the fall. There are few things as beautiful as driving along the country lanes and seeing the foliage changing from green to orange and brown as winter sets in. As I drove through only a small part of the 1.8 million acres of the Ouachita National Forest, with the Boston and Ouachita Mountains in the distance, I was humbled by the sheer splendor and majesty of so much untouched wilderness. Now, I understand this state's nickname.
I spent some time here years ago when I had the pleasure to meet our own Anicole (A Moment With Anicole), and it's nice to be back in the south. There is something refreshing about places where the streets are rolled up at 7 pm, people actually stop and say hello to strangers, and patriotism still runs strong through the veins of its citizenry.
Arkansas lays claim to quite a few famous people. Among her more notable native sons and daughters are Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan from 1965 to 1997; American porn star Gauge; James Robert "Jim Bob" Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame; John H. Johnson, the first African-American to appear on the Forbes 400 list; and Charles Portis, author of the 1968 classic Western novel, True Grit. Add to this list YPF's very own Waltdsgirl.
I met up with Waltdsgirl after her shift at the hospital. We met in the hospital's cafeteria; I got vanilla pudding with that little dollop of whipped cream in the center, and Waltdsgirl got a strong cup of hot tea. We looked for a place to sit, but all of the available tables were filthy. Why are hospitals—places that are supposed to be sterile—always so dirty? So, with snacks in hand, we wandered back down the corridors, toward the courtyard. As we walked, I spied the art on the wall. Some of it was quite exquisite; some of it...well, let's just say I was glad I was in a hospital. Waltdsgirl explained to me that the paintings were created by local "artists." We went through the doors at the end of the radiology ward and alit into a cheerful, sunny courtyard. There were two ginormous oak trees on either side of the courtyard providing ample shade on this particularly warm autumn day. We sat at one of the several picnic tables and commenced our conversation.
JC: Let's begin, like most of my interviews, with the basics. Tell us where your username comes from.
WG: It's pretty simple, really. My husband's Walter, and I'm his "girl."
JC: Now, thanks to Twitter and short attention spans, please tell us in 140 characters or less about yourself.
WG: I am determined, dedicated, devoted, complicated, and compassionate. I'm also a nurturer and animal and nature lover.
JC: While your describing yourself, please tell us, if you were a fast food, what would it be?
WG: A burrito.
JC: And if people still used CBs, what would your handle be?
WG: That's easy. Sparky. That was my handle when I was a kid. My dad was in a CB radio club. A lot of great memories from those days!
WG: Oh, no. I am originally from El Dorado, Arkansas. I moved all the way up here for my job at the hospital. The people are so much nicer here than where I was working before.
JC: And what is it that you do here at the hospital?
WG: I am the manager of Diagnostic Imaging and an X-ray technologist. I have also worked in ultrasound and the heart catheterization lab.
JC: That's very cool and sounds like quite rewarding work. It must be nice to help so many people. Good for you. Let's move into the realm that everyone is most interested in…photography stuff. Since your camera defines who you are in this hobby, let's begin with that. What was your first camera?
WG: A Canon AE-1 was the first camera I bought for myself. That was about 30 years ago. I still have it. Unfortunately, I never used it to its full ability because it was too expensive for me to learn manual techniques when using film.
JC: And what are you currently shooting with?
WG: I have a Canon Rebel EOS XSi. My only glass is the 55mm lens it came with and a 75–300mm telephoto. I love my camera. It more than suits my current level of photography now.
JC: Tell us what your dream kit would consist of.
WG: Right now, I am fine with the camera I have, but I would love a macro lens and a 500mm telephoto lens. I won't let myself dream about better right now. I have too much to learn with what I have.
JC: I can definitely relate to that. Let's get back to learning more about the real Waltdsgirl. Tell us, what is your favorite restaurant?
WG: Steak and Ale. We no longer have one here, but it was phenomenal.
JC: There was one by my grandmother's house. I never made it there. How about your favorite genre of food?
WG: Fourth of July.
WG: Paris. It's the most beautiful city I have ever seen.
WG: The Louvre.
WG: Classic Rock.
WG: Steven Tyler.
JC: TV show?
WG: Johnny Depp. Is there anyone else?????
WG: MAD Magazine, just kidding!
JC: Card game?
JC: Board game?
[Read the original story here.]
JC: How did you find YPF?
JC: What's your favorite picture you've taken?
WG: I'd have to say my Old Mill picture since I sold a copy of it. Profit is always welcome!
JC: Can't fault the lady for that! And what would you say was the dumbest or most dangerous thing you've done to get the perfect shot?
WG: I guess that would be driving around in the more seedy parts of Little Rock…alone.
JC: Was it worth it? Did you get some decent shots?
WG: Yes, it was worth it because I have found amazing architecture and histories that I would have otherwise missed. I guess I should add one from this weekend…ended up in a parallel universe with what I believe were skinheads. Not worth it at all—no good shots there.
JC: That sucks. So, let's get a little more detail on you. We know you're married, but do you have kids?
WG: Walter has a beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 19.
JC: You seem to like you work here at the hospital, but if you could do anything, what would it be?
WG: I have a list…archeologist, geologist, volcanologist, meteorologist (in the field, not TV), forensic scientist, or National Geographic photographer. I love research.
JC: Me too. History is so much more fun than people give it credit. And speaking of history, how did you get into photography?
WG: I've been interested in photography since I was very young, but didn't devote any serious time to it until a few years ago. It was after the purchase of my Canon Rebel EOS XSi that the obsession grew. Photography is kind of a natural extension of my career choice too.
JC: I can see the similarity between sonos, X-rays, and photography. In fact, I remember reading about X-ray photography in a recent issue of National Geographic. If you could go anywhere in the world to take the picture of a lifetime, where would it be and what would it be of?
WG: The Galapagos Islands and hopefully photograph a beautiful creature not yet known to man.
JC: So, tell me honestly, just between the two of us, how much did you have to pay JonMikal for your four awards?
WG: An undisclosed amount that he can live off of comfortably for the rest of his life!! (He wishes!)
JC: Seriously, though, which of your 4 award-winning images do you like the most?
WG: I think I am still most partial to the first one. Trudy is the second oldest gorilla in North America at 54. I've always had a fascination with gorillas and chimps.
JC: What's your favorite thing to take pictures of?
WG: Landscape and architecture for the beauty. And animals for the challenge!
JC: Beside photography, what other hobbies do you indulge in?
WG: Reading, horses, hiking.
JC: And which is your favorite?
WG: Reading is probably my most favorite besides photography…goes back to the research thing. I enjoy reading about my interests rather than novels.
JC: So, sticking with the written word for a moment, if you wrote a book, what would the title and subject be?
WG: It would probably encompass my obsessions around photography—landscapes, churches, barns, outhouses, dilapidated houses, turn of the century homes, cemeteries, etc. It would include tidbits of little known history about each place. A title escapes me. That would be the hardest part of the book.
JC: I would think finding tidbits of little known history about outhouses would be the hardest part of the book. So tell us, which do you prefer, email or snail mail?
JC: Social media or just social?
WG: I'm on Facebook, but you just can't replace face to face.
JC: Mac or PC?
JC: Digital or film?
JC: HD or standard?
JC: Cable or rabbit ears?
WG: CABLE! Never so glad to see the ears go away…
JC: Beer or wine?
JC: Skirt/dress or pants/slacks?
JC: Rings or necklaces?
JC: Couch or sofa?
JC: Art or science?
WG: Hmmm…I like using both sides of my brain.
JC: Now or later?
WG: I confess: later.
JC: Beard or mustache?
JC: Back or shoulders?
JC: Long hair or short?
WG: Long hair on both men and women when it's taken care of.
JC: Stick or automatic?
WG: Sticks are so much more fun!
JC: Shoes or sandals?
JC: Day or night?
JC: Baseball or football?
JC: If, God forbid, you should disappear off the face of the Earth right now, what would you hope people most remember you for?
JC: What's your fantasy vacation?
JC: Sticking with fantasies for a moment, if you could invite anyone (alive or dead, real or fictional) to dinner, who would it be?
JC: Where would you meet Twain?
WG: On a river boat on the Mississippi.
JC: And you would serve…?
WG: Steak, cornbread, and fresh vegetables…his favorites
JC: Who is your biggest hero?
WG: Anyone who puts his or her life on the line for others. Those who have provided our freedom and those who still fight to defend it.
JC: Nicely said, especially since it's still November, the month of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. OK, switching from being thankful to being evil, If you could ban anyone on YPF, who would it be and why?
WG: Anyone that gives degrading comments on images in the guise of "constructive criticism." I've had critiques on my images, but no one here has ever been anything but encouraging and insightful.
JC: What do you feel you still most need to learn about photography?
WG: Portraiture, lighting, and proper technique.
JC: You've been on YPF for a number of years now, who's work would you say has progressed the most over the years?
WG: Hmmm, perhaps Old Fire Guy. He has really honed his skills, and as Judy says, he "really tells a story" with his images. Particularly his images of people. He truly captures the essence of the person and breathes life into the still image.
JC: What's your best piece of advice about life in general?
WG: Pick your battles. Some things are better left undone or unsaid.
JC: And finally, what's your best piece of advice about photography?
WG: Strive to learn new things and try to see things from a different perspective.
It was starting to get cold in the courtyard, and I could see the neon lights starting to come on in the windows facing into the little yard. Day was turning quickly into evening, and a new crew of doctors and nurses were taking up stations in the hospital as the day shift transitioned into the night shift. Waltdsgirl and I headed back through the corridors, making our way to the main entrance. When we got to the parking lot, we said our good-byes. I watched as her red taillights faded from view; she was heading back to her husband and her home. I turned to my rental and headed to the airport, destination unknown.
A MOMENT WITH JUDY AND SNAPSHOOTER
Judy and SnapShooter at home
Texas. The Lone Star State. The 28th state. The second largest state. Meaning friends or allies in Caddo, Texas is 268,820 square miles and contains 24.7 million residents with 24.7 million stories. This is the story of 2 of those residents: Judy and SnapShooter.
I caught up with the couple one sunny afternoon while passing through the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. SnapShooter suggested we meet in the park behind their home between the saber tooth tiger and the wooly mammoth. Fortunately, Judy overruled this idea, and instead we met at The Museum, their cozy home, which they built 38 years ago. It's tastefully decorated with all sorts of curios. They still have their 30-year old refrigerator hanging around. I saw an ancient radio (that's the original way to receive information wirelessly for you kids—and no, it doesn't have a touch screen, it has a dial you have to turn, and it used tubes instead of microchips) that belonged to SnapShooter's grandmother. All around are all sorts of trains ranging from G to O and an N or two in-between. Sitting on the side table next to the chair I'm sitting in is an old buggy lantern. It's glowing faintly, and I can't really tell if it's the way the sun is hitting the lens or if there is a candle or bulb inside. The kitchen door is propped open with an old cordless iron. I wonder if they heat it on the Harvest Gold stove they still have.
We've been talking for about an hour, mostly about trains, photography, and Aunt Millie's button up shoes, which sit in the corner near the stairs. It was a nice relaxing afternoon, the kind that you enjoy because when it's all over you look back and feel that it's lasted hours longer than it really has. It felt like it must have when the Jews fought the Amorites and Joshua stopped the sun from moving across the sky. I learned a lot about this photographing couple.
JC: Let's start with the basics: what does your username mean?
SS: I take really great snapshots.
JC: What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?
SS: Only one…Perfect!
J: Happy, positive, married to Perfect!
JC: What was the first camera you owned?
SS: I honestly can't remember. It was most likely a Brownie.
J: I believe that that is true for me as well.
JC: What do you shoot with?
JC: And what would your dream kit look like?
JC: How did you become interested in photography?
SS: My mother was interested in photography, and I guess I inherited it from her.
J: Are you kidding? I'm married to SnapShooter! Seriously, I've always enjoyed taking what I've always considered to be snapshots…until 3 years ago anyway. One morning after we had a little rain shower, I took my Sony P&S out of my purse and took some close-ups of my roses. Then I emailed them to our daughter. I quickly received a reply saying, "Mom these are as good as Dad's!" Well, after I picked myself up off the floor I took another look at them. They sure didn't look like anything I had ever taken before! Thus The Father's Creations was born!
JC: I'm sure that it was love at first sight. So, Judy, how did he propose?
J: Actually he didn't. We just talked. Actually, SnapShooter says that I talked and talked about getting married. But I think we knew we were going to do it.
JC: That's very sweet. Sort of like me and my wife. We sort of knew after our first date. So, SnapShooter, you said that you transferred from PA. Where are you originally from?
JC: And Judy, do you hail from somewhere other than here.
JC: Getting back to photography for a moment, what's the dumbest thing you've ever done to get the perfect shot?
SS: I have no idea! I’m dumb 24/7. Can’t help myself! :)
J: I guess I'm still waiting for that perfect shot!
JC: What's your favorite stuff to take pics of?
J: Nature, Nature, Nature!
SS: Aside from my grandkids, about anything with a motor (lawn equipment excluded).
JC: So, SnapShooter, I'm always curious how people find their hobbies. How did you get into trains?
JC: Do you consider yourself a trainspotter?
SS: Heck NO!
JC: OK, great. I feel like we're really getting to know you, but I think a great way to get to know people is through word association. So, when I say, "Spring," you say…
JC: Smoke box
SS: Steam locomotive
SS and J: [at the same time] Paradise. Heaven on Earth
J: The Father's Creations is the name of my photography business. Nature is God's canvas for His masterpiece! I have always loved nature…trees, flowers, clouds, water, mountains, green grass, butterflies, etc, etc…and as I grew so did my love for nature! Thus The Father's Creations. I take photographs of nature, add scriptures or inspirational messages, and frame them for sale. These are beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that make lovely gifts or additions to your home or office.
JC: Who would you say your greatest hero is?
J: Actually, I would say SnapShooter is! He is kind, loving (most of the time anyway) , generous, a hard worker, and a perfectionist in his work. He is a great father, adoring PawPa, loving husband, and my best friend. No, contrary to his belief, he is not perfect; but, he does get closer each year! He is a man of integrity and he really is humble (although you wouldn't know it from his answers!) I think he is a fantastic photographer, but he doesn't! I don't think that he really knows what great photos he takes.
JC: That's a very sweet thing to say about your husband. So, who has inspired you most in life?
SS: I guess I'd have to say it was my maternal grandmother.
J: My wonderful mother!
JC: How about your favorite book?
J: The Bible
SS: Any old B grade western.
J: The Sound of Music
JC: Sports team?
J: Grapes and watermelon.
J: PINK…all shades!
J: All good ones are dead.
JC: Aggies or Longhorns?
J: Longhorns…have to support my grandson's school!
JC: Pen or Pencil?
JC: Cigar or cigarettes?
SS: Gave that garbage up 45 years ago!
J: I quit for good 10 years ago!
JC: Hymns or Psalms?
JC: What's your biggest pet peeve?
J: Snobs, hypocrites, rudeness, and definitely negativeness! They all actually go together as far as I'm concerned!
SS: People who can’t keep appointments! People who can't be on time!
JC: After photography, what's your next greatest hobby?
SS: Family. Then things that have motors (lawn equipment excluded).
J: My Granddarlings.
JC: If you had the opportunity to write a book, what would the title be?
J: Thru My Daddy's Eyes!
JC: What is your dream vacation?
J: To go all around Texas capturing the beauty in all the different areas of this great state.
SS: Tour the USA.
JC: What do you still most need to learn in photography?
SS: Composure…perhaps, but that isn’t terribly important to me.
J: Everything my camera does!
JC: If you could be a YPF admin for a day, what changes would you make?
SS: I think I'd make the “Edit” button on a member's own post last permanently and not disappear after a bit, as it does now!
J: Like SnapShooter said, the "Edit" button would always be available to use on your own post and also a 'delete' button in case you post the same thing twice!
JC: What words of wisdom do you have for newbie photogs?
J: Be yourself! Don't try to copy and imitate any other photographer. God made you unique! Look and see all the beauty in everything around you and capture it with your camera to share with others. I like vivid, vibrant colors and my work shows it. Some think it is too saturated, but I like it and it's my style. That is the way I see the world! Trust your eye and what you see through your viewfinder and how you see it. Be yourself and trust your instincts. We all can look at the same thing and see it differently. I am not a "technical" photographer, I like a photo that tells a story to those who see it. I want others to get some kind of 'feeling' from my work. My prayer everyday is, "Lord, please let me see the beauty around me that You created through Your eyes." And He does!
SS: Do your own thing, and don’t try to mimic someone else’s style.
JC: And finally, what insight into life can you offer anyone who's willing to listen?
SS: You are unique. So be yourself. And don’t concern yourself about what you think you are or aren’t.
J: Life is all about choices. It is our choice what we make of it! Do you see the glass ½ full or ½ empty? We can choose to be happy or miserable. We can choose to be positive or negative. We can choose to love or be indifferent. When we choose happiness, love, positiveness, optimism and hope, we will have a full life and be able to bring sunshine into others' lives. The words you choose to speak are what brings things to pass in your life, so speak words of hope, blessings, love and positive not negative words! And always have lots of laughter in your life. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and it so easy to share. Don't judge others; you don't know where they are coming from or what is going on in their lives. Just love them. God says we are to love others, but He didn't say we had to like them or their ways. Just think…a smile doesn't cost you anything, but it is the easiest thing to share and you can brighten someone's day in one quick moment. When you share smiles you reap a healthy harvest of sunshine.
With that final, positive note, I closed my notebook and switched off my recorder. I gave a good long stretch, just as Serena, their cat, did. Unfortunately, I accidently kicked Saydee, the dog, or was that Bitsie…they all sort of look the same to me. I got up, shook hands with my gracious hosts, and walked to the door. I noticed that Dolly, yet another dog—or was that Dudley? Seriously, they really do all look the same to me—was following, trotting along in that dog sort of way. As I got into my car, I turned and waved goodbye to Judy and SnapShooter. It was a good day, and I couldn't believe that the sun was already sitting low on the horizon, casting long, lazy shadows on the streets. I felt good. I got to meet more members of the YPF family, and they were good people.
I subscribe to Smithsonian Magazine. I love it. I think it's one the best written mags I've come across, and the breadth of topics is wonderful.
This month's issue had a cover on it that was nothing more than an advertisement to buy a subscription of Smithsonian Magazine for a Christmas gift. If you bought a subscription, you would receive a gift yourself. Said gift is a bear that resembles the ones created in the early twentieth century that were named after President Teddy Roosevelt--thus the "Teddy" Bear.
The advert announced that you would receive an "authentic replica."
I, like most post people (which surprisingly includes me mum and dad), have a Facebook account. I have over 100 “friends” on this social networking site, and the list seems to grow every day. The sad thing is that many of them are folks that I haven’t seen since high school, and there are even some that I have no recollection of whatsoever!
We’re talking 1988. 1988 for crying out loud! Did they really want to get in touch with me, or did they just see my name and figured, “hey, I’ll see if Jo Cose will add me as a friend so I can get another name on my friends list”? Seriously, folks, I haven’t seen you in 20 years. If you really wanted to keep in touch and be a part of my life, wouldn’t you have done your best to find me before 20 years had passed? I moved schools, but I didn’t move from my house. And it seems from their Facebook profiles that they still haven’t moved away from the old neighborhood (not that I moved too far from there, but at least I have an out-of-state driver’s license).
It seems to me that that is really what Facebook is all about. It’s not really about meeting new people and building a social network; rather, it’s about showing off by having more friends than others…even if you don’t even know the friends that you’ve friended. And I have to admit that I’m guilty of doing this as well. Otherwise, why would have accepted the invitation to friend people I haven’t seen in 20 years? They email me saying, “Oh my God! Jo Cose it’s been so long. How are you?” And I accept their request…even the ones who I respond with, “Do I know you?” Yes, I’m a hypocrite, and I freely admit it. I’m comfortable with my decision…after all, I have over 100 friends!
I think the thing that bothers me the most about Facebook, though, is that you realize just how un-unique you really are. Everyone has Googled themselves at one time or another, and it’s fascinating to see that there are other people out there with the same name. But, on Facebook, it’s all quantified. I mean, on Google, you see that there are thousands of hits, but as you scroll down, you see that it’s including not just hits where your first and last name appear, but also where just your first name and just your last name appear. It even lists places where both names appear, but not together. On Facebook, however, you type in your name (say “Steve Jones”), and 500 people pop up with the exact same name. That is so much more humbling that when you Google yourself.
I heard a comedian once say that if you lived in China, and someone told you you were 1 in a 1,000,000, there would still be 100,000 people just like you. Now I see that it’s funny because it’s true.
Asparagus is great
You know what you just ate
and for some terrific
Each time you micturate
I really like the concept of anthropomorphization. Sure, I understand why vegetarians and vegans get bent out of shape when they see a pig clad in chef’s hat and apron, waving a hoof, and smiling invitingly for you to enter Bob’s B*B*Q. The idea of humanizing dinner is not incredibly appealing, even to a die-hard meat eater like me. I have no problem with my meal having been a living, breathing animal not too terribly long before it was plated for me (and the less that interval, the better, for I do love a rare filet mignon or a nice juicy, medium-rare rib-eye), but I would prefer not to be reminded during that short interval that my lamb chop was crying “baa” a short time ago.
Anthropomorphization is not a new thing, nor is it any wonder it’s been around forever. Think about our ancestors. They had no science, no technology, not even Wikipedia to get answers about why the sun rises and sets, why the tides ebb and flow, or why the sky is blue. In an attempt to answer these and other questions, and to help make sense of the universe in which they lived, they created myths and lore to explain things. They created gods who not only looked like human beings (when they weren’t disguised as amorous geese or other such things), but also personified human idiosyncrasies, human quirks, and human scruples. It helped to humanize the gods so as not to be so afraid of them. It also brought godliness closer to humanity. It is no coincidence that with the creation of monotheism and the use of religion as a form of social control also came the commandments against creating idols and graven images. These monotheistic religions were not about bringing God closer to us, but bringing us closer to God. If God had human features, we would have nothing to look up to or strive to be like. Nevertheless, mere mortals that we are, we still give some human attributes to God. In the Torah, God is seen as a father figure, slow to anger, but swift to mete out punishment and justice. When Moses is allowed a glimpse of God, he sees the back of the Almighty’s very human-looking head. Later, Christians anthropomorphized God in the form of Jesus. As the Son of God he is flesh and blood, and does not engender true godliness until his death, resurrection, and Ascension. Yet, even as a man, he is unlike other humans in that he still possesses God-like features, viz.: his ability to walk on water, turn water into wine, and raise Lazarus from the dead, among many others. (God-like perhaps, but each of his miracles had been performed by mortals in the Old Testament, even his greatest miracle of all, ascension: both Enoch [“And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24)] and Elijah [“and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven..” (2 Kings 2:11)] ascend.) Even today, there is as little anthropomorphization within the Abrahamic religions as possible, with Jews and Muslims refusing to create any sort of image of God, and Christians using the image of Jesus upon the cross as a reminder, rather than an idol.
Yet in other aspects of our lives, we continue to anthropomorphize all sorts of things, not just Bob’s mascot at his restaurant. How many of us have named our cars (or worse yet, our genitals)? The next time you walk to your automobile, look at it from the front: headlights are the eyes, windshield the forehead, and side mirrors the ears (I had a car we called Van Gogh because the right-side mirror had been clipped). Have you ever looked into the rear- or side-view mirror and seen a semi hunkering down on you? Doesn’t it sort of look like a hunchback? And it’s not just the lights/eyes or mirrors/ears. Let’s say that you are on your way back to your vehicle after a long day of shopping at a crowded mall. Sure enough, there are 4 cars in a row, all the same make, model, and color as yours. (My mom is right that certain makes and models travel together: you see a rookery of T-Birds soaring down the highway, a herd of Impalas grazing at the light, a murder of Maseratis flying around the race track, and even a shrewdness of Civics lounging in the parking lot.) Yet, even without looking at the license plate, you can somehow identify your car. Why? It’s because cars have personalities. There is something unique and utterly indescribable that allows you to identify your car from all the others sitting next to it. That is anthropomorphization at its finest.
Like cars, computers, too, have their own personalities. Many times I feel that like me, my computer has not yet had enough caffeine when I start it up. It runs sluggish and angrily…especially on Monday mornings. My computer at home doesn’t like it when I “wake it” from “sleep mode” (I have a Mac, and even the indicator is anthropomorphized: there is a light on the front that, when in sleep mode, glows brighter and dimmer, mimicking the deep, steady breathing of a sleeping person. I thank God every night that my computer doesn’t have a deviated septum). We often complain that our computers are acting up, much like we do about our children. After all, isn’t a computer akin to a child?
The other day, a colleague was having problems with her computer. I overheard the tech at her desk, and it was rather embarrassing. I felt as though I was intruding on something intimate, private; as if I’d walked into a gynecological or prostate exam. I think I may have even blushed. His questions were very clinical: “Has your computer been acting up?”, “Has it been running slowly or sluggishly?”, “Have you noticed any weird emails lately?”, “Have you noticed any attachments that shouldn’t be there?”, “Has it been spitting out incomprehensible code lately?”, “Hmmm, it sounds like it might have a virus.” I was wondering if he was going to pull out a syringe and inject it with some antibiotic. There you go little computer, you’re all better…here’s a lollypop.
It makes sense that we try to humanize things. We are human after all, and it’s the only lens we have to view the world. It is always easier to comprehend things when we relate it to something we know, and many times we do this unconsciously (it’s quite intentional that most ads for watches show the time as 10:10—a smile—and rarely 8:20, a frown). Name your car, pet and caress your computer as you fire it up in the morning so it won’t be persnickety, but don’t ever forget that it’s not really a person. If we continued to see the moon as Artemis riding a silver chariot across the night sky and moonlight as her silver arrows raining down on us, then we never would have landed there in 1969. As science answers more and more questions, will we anthropomorphize less, or will we always see a human being in every inanimate object we use?
a friend of mine sent me this link...I like it, but it scares the shit out of me what I've actually been looking at on the Internet. I guess it's true that you just can't trust what you see:
I'm cleaning out my email, and I came across this joke a friend of mine sent me yonks ago. Enjoy:
Two Scots, Archie and Jock, are sitting in the pub discussing Jock's forthcoming wedding.
"Ach, it's all going grand," says Jock. "I've got everything organised already: the flowers, the church, the cars, the reception, the rings, the minister, even ma stag night."
Archie nods approvingly.
"Heavens, I've even bought a kilt to be married in!" continues Jock.
"A kilt?" exclaims Archie, "That's braw, you'll look pure smart in that! What's the tartan?"
"Och," says Jock, "I'd imagine she'll be in white..."
I am participating in one of the most important duties an American like me can perform. I was invited to appear at the DC Superior Court as a potential petit juror. Much to my surprise (and a welcome one to be honest), I was selected to sit on a criminal case. Because I take oaths and such seriously, I will talk about the case once it is over. In the meantime, all I will say is that so far it is quite interesting, and it’s a nice change of pace from my usual tedious and boring days at NASA.
This post, however, is not about jury duty, but rather about a rather odd experience I had today. As I walked from the Metro station to the courthouse, I saw an older gentleman who was carrying a cup of coffee. This man approached another man, and gently, playfully punched him on the shoulder. The two chatted for a moment, and I assumed that they must have known each other. After I thought about it for a moment, I wasn’t really sure if they knew each other or were just participating in that instantaneous camaraderie and faux brotherly love that a certain demographic in our society engage in on the streets and in the Metro system.
Without much more thought, I continued on my way. All of the sudden, it occurred to me that this same dude was walking up behind me. But not only was he walking behind me, he was also walking at an angle towards me that would cause him to walk INTO me. As I looked up to make sure that he was aware that he was treading dangerously close to my personal space—and that he wasn’t intending to nick my wallet—he smiled at me and playfully and gently punched me in the arm. At this point, I was too stunned to say anything, and he had already accelerated and moved on ahead of me.
To say that I had an eerie feeling would be an understatement. I felt like what I expect everyone who George Lass touches might feel. A little sense of connection to the person who just touched me. A little ominous feeling that something dreadful was going to happen to me. A little frightened that a total stranger touched me, but yet, safe and secure as it was not a threatening touch in any way; but, rather, it was a gentle and soothing touch. I looked around to see if any Gravelings were in the vicinity, but I couldn’t find any.
Without going into too much detail, I had a little “bout” yesterday that caused me to run out of the courtroom rather quickly and return rather embarrassedly. I still wasn’t 100% last night, and after overmedicating myself with Imodium this morning to ensure there would be no repeat of yesterday, I set out for court. I kid you not that after that weird guy touched me, and I reassured myself he was no Reaper, an odd sense of calm overcame me, and I knew that not only would my stomach hold out on me, but that it was going to be a good day. While most of my posts here are a bit cynical or tongue-in-cheek, I have to be honest, that I’m not kidding around. I really did get that clouds parting and angels singing moment.
Sure enough, the Imodium worked (a little too well, if you know what I mean), it was a good day, and the Sailor called me that his new job is hiring and his boss was interested in talking to me about another opening they have.
Do I believe in guardian angels? I’m not sure. Do I believe that scary, odd homeless men can bring joy and happiness to a complete stranger? I’m sure.
Why is it that if we are up for something, we are down with it?