Sunday Weekly rant, I mean wrap up

Well another week has flown by! Can’t even tell you what I did this week; it seems we jumped from Christmas to the New Year in a flash. Thankfully the days are getting longer and soon spring with be upon us. We had record snow this winter, we needed the moisture but I will be glad when all the snow is gone. It is pretty at first, but now we have gray sludge all over town.

Saturday night I watched the wonderful David Tennat as The Dr. in Dr. Who, die and in his place a rather young looking man. I feel as if Harry Potter turned into the Dr. I do not see myself watching this show anymore. Guess this is a sign of age. Speaking of age, I started Susan Fraser’s Stone Maiden. Fraser was kind enough to e-mail me after I reviewed Lady Macbeth and offered this title as my next read. I have to be honest and say, historical romance is not my cup of tea. I know millions of people (women) love it, but I am finding the story rather silly and predictable. My friends who read this genre tell me that the fun of these books is not in their storylines rather it is fun to” watch” the two main characters get together. I don’t know, the dialog is silly and the heroine is far too stubborn to garner sympathy from me. She has an ideal man in her mind and of course the warrior sent to marry and save her clan is not the exact type of man she is looking for; of course I know by books end he will be. Someone should have told her you cannot always get what you want but you get what you need. Oh how well I am learning this!

I want to stay away from doctors but what I need is heart surgery. Tomorrow I am going to San Francisco for some extensive testing in order to determine what kind of heart surgery and when. I really want to be in denial but will face up to my problem and see the doctors in order to solve my problem. While I am there I will visit some familiar places; I grew up near the Bay Area and miss many of its sights and sounds. I will have dinner at Fisherman’s Warf (of course it will be a seafood dinner) then stroll the shops. I have more fun watching the free street performers than I do shopping for trinkets. I plan on taking my camera, and hope to catch some fun photos. One day as I waited for mother to come out of a shop I noticed acute couple walking hand in hand towards me. Just as they passed me and a big box, a huge man jumped out of the box waving a tree branch yelling Boo!! The man of said couple jumped back but what made me laugh till I almost peed was that the woman screamed then ran down the block waving her arms in the air still screaming. The man and I laughed and laughed at the sight while the box man just stood there stunned he scared her that badly. I told the young man he really should go after his girlfriend as she was almost out of site, still screaming. I paid the box man $20.00 because it was one of the funniest things I had ever witnessed. Writing it down it seems mean, guess it was one of those “you had to see it” moments. Hopefully I see something funny and can take a picture; San Francisco is famous for their crazy street performers. I will need a break from all the tests that will be done on Tuesday and want good news afterwards. Let’s hope this time I will get what I want and what I need. I will be back Thursday with news and pictures.

I have loaded up my Ipod with Podcasts in case they let me use it while they do their tests. I am going to catch up on Star Talk hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson. I loaded up an episode from The History Channel’s short series Evolution (I guess I missed this on TV) and will bring Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere to read. See you soon!

Kindles are NOT better than books

This week has been a pretty good week, after all most of us received presents and spread good cheer. I planned to forgo this week’s rant but after reading posts from new E-Reader owners I changed my mind, sort of. This week is a kind of rebuttal to those who feel the need to come up with excuses as to why they now own an E-Reader; excuses that try to claim E-Readers are good for the environment. I am going to pick on Kindles, not because I do not like them, but because the people that claim to be environmentally friendly all have Kindles. I think of the Kindle as the Ipod of MP3 players. The Kindles like the Ipod s are the hottest e-reader gadgets to own; at least this is what we are being led to believe by the media and Amazon. Let me make it clear, I see nothing wrong with owning any E-Reader and do not feel anyone needs a reason to own one. No, this rant is for those who are feeling smug about owning one, much like their parents must have felt owning the first Volvos while drinking their Starbuck coffee. Remember those people?

Here are the top three excuses I have heard this week and why they need to be addressed.

3) I can now carry all my books with me where ever I go. One guy boasted that he now has all 1700 of his books on his Kindle (is that even possible?). Now I have found myself from time to time wishing I had a book with me. These are the times when I have to wait for something or someone unexpectedly. Normally I carry a paperback in my car but I do not always have one in my purse, luckily for me I do have a couple of classics loaded in my Ipod Touch so in a pinch I can always read a few chapters of Alice and Wonderland or The Jungle Book. But all of my books? At one time??There has only been two times in my life when I wanted all of my books with me, two times when I tried to figure out how to carry all of my books. This is when I moved from one house to another house. At no other time I have wished to have all my books with me. When I was laid up in the hospital last year with nothing to do it never occurred to me that I would feel much better or the room would be cozier if I had all my books with me. It was a good time to read books that I had been putting off. When you do not have a wide choice of books you tend to finish what you do have. I read three Shakespeare plays and finally finished Ulysses by Joyce. If I had access to all my books Joyce may have been cast aside and I would have missed out on a good read. Here is when I think it would be great to have all of your unread books with you; when you are in college and have your texts loaded in an E-Reader. I would rejoice if someone came up with an E-Reader for college students. Lugging large heavy texts are good for chiropractors but bad for students. If there was an E-Reader that allowed for text books, I would be first in line. But all of my books? Back to the young man who claimed to have 1700 books in his collection. All I can say is he either has a serious case of ADD or likes the idea of being able to show off his collection, much like my ex-brother in law liked to show off his $20,000 watch that as far as I could tell did the same thing as my $5.00 watch.

2) Books are just dead trees. Well so is a house and all of the furniture in it. As I told the young girl who said this, those who think this better start living like the Flintstones and purchase only that which is made of rock. Sorry blonde, but books are made from wood pulp, the byproduct of wood. No old growth trees are cut down to make paper. Since the 1800 paper has been made from t discarded wood material. Material that otherwise would go to waste. The wood pulp is from trees that grow in abundance and are used to make furniture. Granted, the chemicals that are part of the bleaching process is not great for the environment, but books themselves are not the reason trees are cut down,. Which leads us to the number one ridicules excuse I have heard this week.

1). Kindles are environmentally better than books. Where do I even begin! I researched all the E-Readers and cannot find any mention of the use of recycled material in them. Amazon does offer a recycle program for dead Kindles but does not say they use recycled plastic material in the making of the Kindles. This means that for every one out there, new material was manufactured. No byproducts were used. As for the recycle program, I give Amazon credit for coming up with one, but I wonder how many people will take the time to send their old Kindles off? It is hard enough to get us to recycle our household waste, and it is picked up on a weekly basis! This means that many of the old Kindles will end up in our landfills along with all the other E-Readers, MP2 players etc. At least when a book ends up in the landfill it will eventually disintegrate and become part of the earth. Kindles need to be recharged, and the only way to do this is using electricity, you know the stuff we are supposed to be conserving? I have a few books on my shelves that are over 200 years old and as far as I know they have never needed to be recharged. Oil, natural gas and carbon are the basic building blocks of plastic, again the stuff we are supposed to be conserving. Then in comes the chemical process that is needed to make sturdy long lasting plastic. Wood pulp, bleach, and ink are what our books are made of. Kindles on the other hand are made of nonrenewable sources that are becoming more and more expensive to attain. Which now sounds better for the environment? Kindles are manufactured in China and have to be flown thousands of miles so we consumers can have them. Most books are manufactured in the country of origin. In other words when you buy a book you buy (insert your country name here). The carbon foot print of any book is far smaller than the Kindle.

Now this argument can be made for many things, there are always pros and cons for everything we buy. I grapple with this everyday as I see my plastic use go up, not down as I wish. But I do not make excuses for my purchases; instead I live with my choices. I do not try to make myself feel better by making ridicules claims about the things I buy, and I swear the next time I hear another Kindle is better than a book claim I am going to drive over the Kindle loving idiot with my SUV, while drinking a latte and listening to REM on my Ipod!