Archive for the ‘Just Sayin’’ Category

Okay, ya got me:  I posted that last bit for the sole purpose of distracting you from the fact that I didn’t actually write anything on Day 1.  To my credit (or maybe just to validate my laziness), pretty much nothing happened on the first day of our Newfie Adventure.  The sad truth is that the highlight of our entire day was a small flurry of excitement caused by a “low tire pressure” light coming on just before we pulled in for the night.  We figured we were screwed.  As it turned out, we were right.  (Oh, you’re so gonna groan.)  We had a slow leak caused by (yep, you guessed it) a screw in the right rear tire.

If you’re expecting an apology for the foregoing gratuitous corniness, fuggedaboudit.  It was a very slow news day and corny is all I got.

It was stinking hot yesterday –  90 degrees F, plus a honkin’ humidex making it actually somewhere around 125 F (I just made that up – uneventful day, remember?).  Dear ole Bob figured out how to work the air conditioner in the trailer without blowing stuff up, a skill I have yet to master.

You’ll recall (or perhaps not) from our Southwest Adventure that Bob is the Doer of All Things, while I am the Designated Turnip and, as such, am not to be trusted with even the simplest of tasks.  We’re working on that.  By “we,” I mean me.

Permit me to illustrate:

This morning, when we were breaking camp, I finished up my few meagre “inside” chores so I went out to help (HAH!) Bob with the outside ones.  He was busy tweaking something vital (I’m sure), so I said, “I’m gonna go shut off the water.”

“Uh huh…” he replied (distractedly).

As I rounded the back of the trailer and headed for the post with the hookup stuff on it (is there an actual name for that post?), I heard his little light come on in the form  of a tiny squeak.  Then there was a sort of a whoosh! as he blew by me headed for the post.  “NO!” I shrieked, “MY do it!”  He skidded to a stop and tried to hide the look of horror on his face.  “Nuh…nuh…okay….” he spluttered, eyes darting feverishly between the post and me.

Just to clarify here, I wasn’t about to disarm a bomb with my eyebrow tweezers or perform neurosurgery with my sewing kit, I was about to turn a knob.  If you’ve ever turned water either on or off, then you’ll have mastered this move yourself.

So, with an almost euphoric sense of suffragetteness, I, under the hawklike scrutiny of  The Supreme Bobness, shut the water off.  Alas, that was the extent to which my newly acquired skill set was to be tested – he stepped in and unscrewed the hose himself because gawd only knows how many ways that could have gone sadly awry.

 

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If you’re a person who loves gorgeous sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, you need to add “Outer Banks of North Carolina” to your Bucket List.

Beach 1R

ShellsR

Cape Hatteras 1R

We are here in the off season (April is “off”; May is “on”) which means that we virtually have the place to ourselves. Yep, 80 degrees and a zillion miles of glorious unspoiled beach. Life sometimes sucks, but now isn’t one of those times.

Sunrise 2R

After a few days of poking around, we began to notice little signs posted in certain areas saying things like “This area of the beach is closed!” Beneath this was a stick drawing of a bird sporting what appeared to be a silly hat, together with an explanation (paraphrased by yours truly): “The Fluffy-Headed Shrimp-Suckers are currently nesting in this area.” Then, in smaller print, a few words describing why this should concern us, followed by (something like) “Love and Kisses, The Audubon Society.

Being the fledgling birders we are, we thought it was darned swell of those Audubon folks to do such a thing. There are those, however, who would disagree.

Flip 2 R

In any given situation, there will always be an arsehole or two who can’t just live ‘n’ let live. They probably don’t bother to vote but they’ll be first in line braying like a bunch of jackasses the second they imagine that their rights have been violated.

Let’s just back up here for a second. Back to the part where I mentioned “a zillion miles of glorious unspoiled beach.” Back, too, to the “off season” bit. Okay, so we have oodles of beach with nobody on it, and we have a comparatively miniscule portion of said beach cordoned off for a few weeks so that love might flourish for the Fluffy-headed Shrimp-suckers (or whatever they actually are).

Yep, I can certainly see cause for alarm there.

Imagine having to exist in a world where some stupid bird can just up and hog the beach! Gawd’s teeth!!  Especially when it’s just a few acres of beach that nobody’s using anyway. That’s certainly worth going to the expense of having a special protest sign printed up and nailing it to your hand stenciled board (pardon me while I wipe away a wee tear). That’ll show ’em, boy!

The thing is that unless this is really just a clever ploy by the government to ferret out the local morons, the Audubon Society could probably have saved themselves some sign money and aggravation by just keeping mum and letting those Shrimp-suckers do their thing on that empty beach. Nobody’d be any the wiser. Least of all the local moron bird-flippers who’ve lost their precious freedom (insert melodramatic eye roll here).

A Google Rant

Posted: July 30, 2012 in Just Sayin', Rants, RV, Travel
Tags: ,

Every so often, I encounter stuff that defies explanation (in a really stupid way).  At least, it does to me.  When this happens, I have to set aside my fervent desire to smash the living crap outta my keyboard and vent my spleen in blog form.   That time has come.

A while ago, someone suggested to me that a really cool/easy way to share photogs with friends and family online was to download a free (yay!) bit of software called Picasa.  I’m sure most of you savvy internet types are familiar with it.  Well, it’s a simple enough thing to use, but there are some loopholes.  The first one I encountered was that if you don’t very carefully set your albums to “private” or “you can only see it if I say you can” (I paraphrase), your photogs can and will appear on a Google Image search.  So, unless you really know what you’re doing with Picasa, I’d recommend staying away from posting naughty pictures of yourself.  Unless that’s your thing, in which case, hey, whatever blows your skirt up.

The second downside to using Picasa is that every single time you click on it to open it, it ransacks your entire computer hunting down anything you might have hidden on there even remotely resembling a picture file.  Then it rounds them all up, sorts them in a really pretty way, and sticks them in your Picasa thing, regardless of whether or not you wanted them there.  There is no way to stop this from happening.  If you then spend the rest of your day deleting all of the stuff you didn’t really want in there, Picasa will just round them all up again the next time you use it.  I don’t know you if have ever found yourself screaming banshee-style at your monitor, but I have.  It’s not a side of myself I enjoy even knowing I possess.

Where was I?  Ah!  The rant warm-up.  The third little hiccup I encountered is that you can’t use Picasa unless you also have a gmail account.  Oh good!  That’s what I need – another email account!  Sigh.  I signed up for gmail which, incidentally, reads your private emails and sends you topic-related advertising, but that’s a rant for another day.  As I am a very private online person (having learned my lesson the hard way), I tend toward using fake internet names to protect myself from weirdos.  Is this necessary?  Oh hell yeah!  If you haven’t encountered any internet weirdos out there yet, you’re doing something wrong.  Anyhoo, suffice it to say, I’m all about the fake names.   Oh, don’t look at me like that – you’ve done it too.

As a wee aside here, I’m very anti-Facebook for the same reasons.   I cherish my privacy and I don’t need the worldly minions up in my business.  If I didn’t stay in touch with you since we sat next to each other in kindergarten, there’s a reason.  Nuff said.

So, I made up my fake gmail account with my fake name, and Bob was my uncle (or husband, as the case may be).  All was just duckity-doo until yesterday.  I logged into my fake gmail account to see if I had any fake email and there it was:  a “Your Ass is Busted!” email from the good folks at Google.  GASP!  The message was terse:  “Our Name Nazi has determined that your mother did not actually christen you ‘Wombat Warrior,’ therefore your account has been suspended.  If you can prove that you really are this suspicious-sounding person by means of scanning either your driver’s license or passport (yeah… I’ll get right on that), we will reinstate your account.”  The blurb went on to say that only my real name would be accepted, meaning, presumably that only real-sounding names will slide past the Name Nazi.  The problem was that they’d offered me no way to change my fake gmail name to a slightly less fake-sounding one.  When I went to my suspended profile to do so I found that it was…um…suspended.  Ergo, no can do.

I spent the next good hour trying to find a way to contact Google people so I could write them some eloquently-worded abuse, but they’re a  wily bunch, those Googers, let me tell you.  They have designed their system to send you into a never-ending vortex of world-class bull-schitt if you even so much as think about contacting them!  I was impressed!  And not in a good way.

Here’s the thing:  Let’s say I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t want to post my real name, address, phone number, bra size, yadda yadda on the internet.  Let’s say that I consider it my right to make that choice for myself.   And, to be fair, let’s say it’s also equally Google’s right to withhold their sub-amazing services from privacy-seeking souls such as my good self if they so desire and for whatever vacuous reasons they, in their infinite wisdom, deem appropriate.  Do they have the right to shut down my account?  Sure they do.  Is it nice?  Not really, no.  Must I then comply with their Official (and really really stupid) Name Rules?  Yes, if I want my account back, I must.  Well…at least I must at least make them believe I have.  So, in the end, I gave them a non-fake-sounding name.  It’s just as fake as the other one, but it’ll allow me to have my account back.

I ask you this:  If you were a Google employee and you encountered someone who you believed was using an artificial moniker, and, let’s further qualify that by assuming that you have a functioning brain, wouldn’t you imagine that if someone had opted to go the fake name route, they perhaps had a reason for so doing?  And, further, if you supposed that there was a reason for using said fake name, wouldn’t it then make sense to you that asking them to provide a real name or face losing their account, would cause them to appear to comply by changing their obviously fake name to a slightly less overt one?  Am I the only one who thinks this way??

Allow me to further illustrate:  I started this blog to use as a record of our travels.  It began with the acquisition of our new trailer and my intent was to chronicle our trailery adventures.  If wordpress required me to use my real name or any other personal/private information in order to have this blog, just exactly how much of a moron would I be to be telling the world “we’re not home right now, but here’s the address, the key’s under the mat.  Help yourself, but please don’t leave a mess?”

Is there something wrong with privacy?  Has it gone the way of the dinosaur?  Honey, you’ll have to pry mine outta my cold, dead hand.  Just sayin’…

This is a bit tough for me to admit out loud, but, I think I’m becoming one of those freaky old bird ladies.  I honestly never saw this coming.  I should have, really.  I mean, look at the stuff on my Bucket List:  See a California Condor (check);  see Puffins (checkity-check!); see Whooping Cranes; yadda yadda…it goes on.  There are a surprising number of birds on that stupid list.

I’ve noticed something else lately:  When I’m not gallivanting all over hell’s half acre with ole Bob and our new trailer, I’m lurking in the shrubbery with my camera….stalking…birds!  Ugh!  I can’t believe it!  The funny thing is, though, that I keep encountering “bird people,” and I’ve discovered that there is a not-so-subtle rivalry between the hard-core birders (the beige-clad, binocular-wielding, dorky hat and sensible shoe-wearing sort) and the bird photographers.  Apparently the (ahem) REAL birders think the photographers are cretins (and probably vicey versace) because they do bad things to get “the shot.”  “Bad things” might include making bird noises or sneaking up on nests.  REAL birders like to stand there and wait for the magic to show up and land on them.

Anyhoo, I’m just a girl who likes to take pictures of birds (and lots of other stuff).  So, today, I was surfing around in Flickr and I discovered some really weird schitt.  There are gangs and groups and clubs and bunches of people (cults?  Hmmm…) who like to shoot pictures of birds.  Just like me?  Pffft! Yeah, no. Get this:  All of the groups I perused had (ugh) rules.   And, all of the rules were pretty much the same.  They said things like “NO pictures of nests!”  Why?  Well, apparently if you sneak up on a nest, you’re messing with nature or somesuch.  They don’t mention the little fact that a good 90% of the bird photoggers have at least a 500 mm lens so they can be standing in the next county and get the shot.  Negative bird disturbage.  I personally do most of my bird stuff with a 300 mm lens cuz it’s the biggest one I have.  I rely heavily on luck.  I think it’s more exciting that way.

In addition to the “NO nests” business, they invariably also have a rule that says (I can’t say this without rolling my eyes) “NO dead birds.”  Um…okay then.  I’ll make a note of that.  I guess it means I can’t post stuff like this (I shot it out my back window last winter):

Coopers Hawk with (DEAD!!) Mourning Dove

I also noticed several groups with “NO injured or abused birds” amongst their rule pile.  Because… I can’t even speak to that one.  Are there really people out there who abuse birds and then take pictures of them?  Are we that weird??

Long story short, I discovered that if I wanna join one of these bird photogger gangs, I have to strictly adhere to the “Only happy-sappy birdie shots – no reality allowed” rule.  In other words, I have to blow nothing but sunshine and butterflies out of my …er…camera.  Which brings us to another point:  What about the poor insects?  Or the fish?  I saw literally thousands of pictures today showing birds brutalizing butterflies and beetles and fish!  It was horrible!  I was deeply offended.  (I’m totally lying.)  But seriously, what if the bug group folks find out about this??  Or the fish group people??  It could get very ugly very quickly.

I guess I won’t be joining a Flickr bird gang anytime soon.  I’m just too much of a rebel.  I’ll just stay here and write about my travels and sometimes I’ll slide some birds into my blog…just to get it out of my system, y’know?  🙂

Okay.  I feel better now.  🙂

One of the things we loved about Maine is that they do things a little differently.  It’s a bit like our own dear Newfies whose time zone is a half-hour out of whack with the rest of the country.

On our way home, I asked Bob what his favourite thing was about Maine.  “The accent,” he said with a grin.  I should have known.  He’d been speaking with a Maine accent for days.  It was weird for him to do that – I’m usually the one who picks up accents and gets carried away with them.  I’ve honestly never known him to do it.  Here, to give you an idea, he was giggling his fool head off when he bought this:

It’s his most cherished souvenir of our trip.  Sigh.  Oh, and here’s the one he bought for me:

(It’s a lapel pin…)  (eyeroll)

I suppose I didn’t need to be asked why my favourite thing was.  PUFFINS!!!  I think the lighthouses came a close second, though.  There are so many of them and they’re all so interesting.  The thing about Maine that made me laugh, though, was the measurements of various things.  Everywhere I’ve ever been, you buy milk that’s either 1%, 2%, homogenized, or skim.  I thought it to be a universal truth.  Not in Maine:

The milk wasn’t the only thing.  I tried like mad to get a shot of one of the mileage signs for you, but, alas, they blew by too quickly and I couldn’t get one in focus.  You know the ones I mean – they say stuff like “Albuquerque 75 miles” (well, it probably wouldn’t say that in Maine, but you get the idea).   In Maine, the signs say things like “Portland 28 17/43 miles,” or worse, “Main Street 1/10 mile,” which doesn’t really even give your brain time to assimilate this information before you’ve gone past.  My question is this:  Would it not have been simpler, in the case of the Portland sign, for example, to just move the sign back a bit and plant it at, say, a nice round 29 miles?!  Just to keep idiots like me from saying, “huh?!” and then madly trying to convert it to kilometers in our heads?   Or, move that pesky Main Street sign back another 4/10 of a mile to give us an even half-mile warning?  Some of the fractions on these signs were just bizarre!  There must be someone with serious anal issues in charge of the sign-makers union in Maine.  Cripes!

And, since I can’t seem to end without throwing in some photogs…

(The rain in Maine…)

(Lobstah traps)

<—-Bob in the rain…

And, those of you who don’t already know about my bird thing, it’s about time you learned…

(Barn swallow glaring ferociously)

(Belted Kingfisher)

(I was pretty excited about the Kingfisher – I’d never seen one before.  Not nearly as excited as I was about the puffins…or the condors…but still…ha ha!)

I’m sure this will astonish you to hear, but….I’m not a happy camper.  We’ve arrived in Freeport, Maine and, rather than describe what it’s like here, I’ll just show you.  This is our campground:

(Pretty sure those’re horseshoe pits in that puddle)

(How’s that for irony?  That’s not actually a beached boat but a kids’ sandbox gizmo!)

Rather than subject you to more of my whining, I’ll simply say that the bright spot of our very soggy day was going to the LL Bean mother ship and spending an obscene pile of money on bedding (and life jackets – ha ha!).  On the way back, we had to dodge “road flooded” signs and several washed out bits of pavement.  The news is telling us that it might be time to start rounding up pairs of animals.  I wish I was joking.  Bob has affixed pontoons to the trailer.

We’ve finally got all of the red rock dust and splatted bugs hosed off of the trailer, so we’re packing up for Round 2.  This time, we’re headed east through New York State, Vermont, New Hampshire, and into Maine.  And this time, so I’ve been promised, we’re actually going to stop in Maine and see stuff.  I can’t help wondering if it’s to shut me up from grousing about our last pass through this beautiful area.

Sometimes, I look at my wonderful husband and say things like, “Wouldn’t it be fun to go through Maine and see lighthouses and lobsters and stuff?”  He’ll smile benevolently and reply, “Why, yes it would, my Precious Turnip!  Why don’t we do just that!”  (I claim Creative License on the dialogue.)  I get all excited and begin to plan all of the things I’m gonna see, photogs I’ll take, trinkets I’ll buy to bring home for everyone.  It’s not until we’re actually blazing through the area “at Mach II with our hair on fire” (if I might borrow a line from Top Gun) that I realize where I went wrong in that conversation.  I said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to go through Maine…” and he glazed over after those words were spoken.

I call these Drive-by Vacations, and we’ve had our share, believe me.   In fact, our last trip through Maine, was accomplished in what felt like about half an hour.  We took the coast highway, which doesn’t run anywhere near the coast,  while he gestured vaguely saying things like, “I think there’s a lighthouse over there…”  Whoosh!  “Where?”  Sigh…somewhere in the rearview mirror…  Oh it was fun, all right.

So, I’m pretty sure that this is the Shut-Up-and-Get-Over-It Tour.  Did I mention he’s a very smart man?  No?  Well, he is.  (Insert smug grin here.)

We’re going to spend actual days in pretty places like Bar Harbor and Boothbay, AND!!!  We’re gonna go whale watching!!!  I LOVE whale watching!!!  This’ll be our third time doing it so I suppose you could call us keeners.  I’ve been busying myself hunting for a good whale watching tour out of either of those places.  I’m such a savvy internet-user (Remember me?  I’m the one who can’t even figure out how to put a simple link in a stupid blog post!), that instead of going off half-cocked and just jumping on a boat when we get there, I’m doing research.  Y’know, checking out user reviews and stuff like that.  Which brings me to a little irksome matter I’d like to raise…

If you are a moron, you should do whatever it takes to refrain from writing consumer reviews.  Seriously.  I’ve just read a review from someone who said, “What is the point of going whale watching if all you see is a fin sticking up?”  I was gobsmacked!  Hellooooo!  It’s a whale, you embecile!  A whale is a giant mammal that lives in the water and is not normally known for spotting tourists in boats and responding by leaping into the air and turning cartwheels or singing show tunes!  I can’t help wondering what someone who would say such a moronic thing was expecting to see.  It boggles the mind.

Here, this is a picture of a “fin sticking up” from our last whale watching trip in Alaska:

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see something like this, up close and personally, you won’t understand the raw thrill that comes of such things.  I think if someone on my tour boat so much as mumbles a “what’s the point,” I’m gonna shove them overboard.  Just sayin’…

I was just now having a poke through the writings of some of the amazing bloggers on this site when I came across a section on a blog called “Terms & Conditions.”  When I clicked on it, I found a carefully worded disclaimer that said lawyerly-sounding things like “the opinions of this blogger…yadda yadda,” and “subject to revision without notice…blah blah blah.”

Okay, I get that this is the internet, and I get that the world is full of weirdos.  Ergo, I get that this is not necessarily the ideal combination.  But, seriously, if you are one of the aforementioned weirdos and you happen to either take offense and/or punk someone’s work, then how is a little typed out blurb going to stop you?

It got me thinking:  If I were to put a Terms & Conditions thing on my blog, what would I say?  Let’s find out, shall we?

TERMS & CONDITIONS

1.  The opinions of this blogger may or may not make sense to anyone other than the blogger.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  the chipmunks that live in the backyard of the said blogger, nor do they necessarily concur with the opinions of any politicians currently holding office, or, for that matter, any chipmunks holding office.

2.  The writings of this blogger may or may not be true.  It may or may not be difficult to tell the difference.  Even for the blogger.

3.  The photogs used in this blog are the original work of the blogger and are embedded with a virus that will not only cause your computer to dissolve into a puddle of molten ooze, but it will leap from your monitor screen and attach itself to your face.  It’ll be all downhill from there.  So don’t steal them, okay??

4.  Should you choose to read this blog, please be advised that you do so at your own risk.  The blogger accepts no responsibility whatsoever should you happen to suffer some sort of malfunction during the course of the reading of the said blog.  And no, the blogger will most definitely NOT cover your medical expenses.

5.  The writer of this blog is an entirely fictitious character and, as such, cannot be prosecuted for any of his or her fictitious behaviour, including, but not limited to, silliness, fun-poking, general levity, specific levity, and any other sorts of behaviours which may or may not be named later.

6.  Any other addenda and/or provisos and/or insertions heretofore omitted shall be presumed to be written (or not, as the case may be) with or without the full knowledge of the blogger.

There now.  I think we’ve about covered it.  I feel all safe and protected now.  😀