Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

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).

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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’…

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’…