Howling Again

My wolf soul is howling. Howling for a new adventure! So, I send a signal to my friends that it’s time to assemble the pack, it’s time for a new adventure! What is it this time, you might ask?

I am ready to go on a road trip. Grab your bicycles, your backpacks, and your animalistic souls. We are going for a one-week bicycle journey around Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This forest is so close, yet so wonderful. It has an area of 1.3 million acres, it extends 116 km along the western slopes of Cascade Range from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River. It has an old forest with several glaciers, volcanic peaks, rivers, and lakes. The highest peak is 12.276 ft. There are also places for rock climbing and camping. It’s the perfect place for my wolf soul.

For a week I’ll be skipping my favorite TV shows and Netflix, as well as the internet. That means no laptop, no tablet, and no phone (except for the occasional hello). I’ll be offline, but my wolf soul will be in line with the positive vibes. Fresh air, fresh water, and fresh food. We will do our own hunting, We will do our own camping. All I need to do now is the last bicycle check before taking off – check the condition of the tires wheels, and whether the quick-release skews on the wheels are secure and tight. I’ll just spin the wheel and see if it’s wobbly. Then I’ll clean the fork of the frame and see if there are some raptures. Next, I’ll check the brakes, give the hydraulics a bit of tuning, and finally, I’ll check the pedals, chain, and chain-rings.    

I need some fresh air. I like my house and I especially like my room. But even if you live in a clean environment and take all the necessary precautions in your house to breathe good air, the wolf soul needs to go back to where it belongs – to nature! Check out Clean Breathing for more.

Being in nature and viewing the scenes increases positive feelings and reduces my fears, stress, and anger, and takes care of my physical wellbeing as well. Riding bicycles for a week will certainly improve my physical condition, reduce my muscle tension, and increase the happiness hormones. Not to mention spending time with my friends always puts me in a great mood. So, it’s time for the pack to go on a new adventure. We all have decisions to make. We are already in that stage of life where every decision matters and good advice from a friend is always a positive thing. The trip will just make us stronger in every sense of the word. We are animalistic souls and we continue to howl.

As Seen On TV

Who doesn’t watch a ton of TV. If you say you don’t, you are lying. Everyone I talk to either loves primetime, cable networks, or reality shows. The latter are ranking so high in popularity that they are bumping out the scripted shows right and left in the ratings. Some of the, like Survivor last more than a decade. People apparently like to see the average person suffer and compete.

Athletic and dancing shows are always on top as people battle for trophies rather than money. I am cheering right along with everyone. My Wolf Soul craves the excitement. The more active reality shows leave cooking, selling real estate, and the lives of housewives in various cities of the country in the dust. While all reality shows have their audience and specific appeal, I have my preferences and they tend to coincide with the ratings.

I would certainly like to be a contestant and haven’t figured out yet how to secure a place among the other brave souls. You have to want to be open—baring yourself to the world at large. The public can know too much and you become a spectacle. Yet I am tempted nonetheless. I won’t reveal the shows in question less I jinx my chances. In the interim, I emulate the people that parade before me week after week vying for top position in the group. A natural competitiveness takes over which is surely instinctive. I particularly like the role of survival. People will perform absurd activities to make sure they prevail. As I watch the comings and goings of these fearless contestants, I notice some of the tools they carry. My eyes got stuck, for example, on the Flashlight Pro branding of the EDC light being carried by the survival show host. Something clicked in my head. I absolutely had to have this, if only as a symbol of what the show stands for.

I called the production company and I wrote letters, but no one knew the exact brand. I asked some friends for help. They watched that episode maybe as many times as I did, and one claimed to recognize the flashlight because of certain design features. I wasn’t sure I believed him as I craved absolute authenticity. So, I checked it out on line. I called the number on the website and asked point black if this flashlight was shown on the survivor show.

I hit the jackpot with the public relations department, the only people to actually know the answer. They verified that their brand was the visible flashlight of the host and offered to send me one free within a week if I would post it on Instagram and Facebook. Of course, I said yes. You bet when it arrived that I photographed it incessantly. You know this well if you have “friended” my page. I was happy to recount my discovery of the tool and how and where I spotted it on the show. Holding it in my hand was the closest I will be to acting as a contestant.

Letting My Wolf Soul Howl

It is fun to have an alter ego. I have my wolf soul. It is known only to people who see my posts online in social media. It is like letting me out of a cage. I am not coming out for daily life. I call this going incognito. For friends and family, I am just me as is. I only transform myself in writing. But recently, I did it another way. I was going out for a night on the town with friends with a last stop at a popular club. For this, I wanted to be different and find a new look. That meant a new outfit, putting on a fun (but not fright) wig, and applying makeup and false eyelashes. I was virtually transformed as a ruse and to have my own kind of secret fun. I was out to let my wolf soul howl.

I did really look odd and no one recognized me at first until I took the wig off. It gave me a perfect disguise for a couple of hours. My friends said that the false eyelashes looked so natural that they thought they were real. They knew mine were skimpy so these gave them some pause—who is this girl with the big dark eyes?

It works well when you meet new people as you don’t have to worry about detection through your hand gestures and usual mannerisms. They wonder who this oddly attired person really is? You can see what you like without fear of retaliation, not that I would be negative. I would be more playful. I had a great time unlike most other nights.

What do you do when you want to let loose? Some people like to dance wildly alone or with a partner, and some enjoy a round of karaoke. For me, looking like someone else was the road to riches. It brought me into unusual conversations for sure. It is amazing how different you feel in makeup and false eyelashes if this is not your usual look. It changes your appearance so much, and when you add a wig, you are not recognizable at all. You must decide on your first impression. Do you want to look younger or older, glamorous or punk? You can vary it on different nights whether or not your friends are on to you by now. It is like having a recurring Halloween. Who doesn’t like to wear costumes and masks?

A friend said that I looked very flirty in my false eyelashes so this was a look I wanted to repeat. You can toss out great opening lines and wink at strangers without them knowing who you are. I never give out my personal information. I wonder why I don’t see more of these false eyelashes on people I meet. I guess they are a little hard to put on. But it is worth it to enjoy an evening of disguise as you beguile others.

Help! Squirrels!

Yes, little furry things are kind of cute in a way, even if they aren’t stuffed, but some are just plain trouble. And I am not referring to the neighbor’s cat that can be a menace. I have a pesky squirrel that lives in the tree outside my bedroom window, and he is a big nuisance. If you hate people who crack their gum when they chew in the movie theater, especially during the love scenes, you will not like this critter that opens nuts in the noisiest possible manner—early in the morning while I am sleeping. He wakes me up and is darn proud of it. He gives me that one-eyed cocky look, almost like a wink, as I throw tennis balls his way. I have even, in a fit of anger, thrown a tennis shoe or two.

I don’t want to set a trap and harm him. I am not that mean. I have consulted a pest control company and got a lot of “it’s not our job” kind of responses. I have checked with the city, honing in on presumably the right department, with no luck. They will come get raccoons and possums, but they won’t get rid of squirrels. These are in their correct habitat with no need for relocation. “Get used to it, gal.”

I have to get creative on my own. I need to acquire an eco-friendly pest control mindset. I can make a little noose, but that would be fatal. I can poison the nuts, but….no way. I can sing to him. That puts my brother off. I can chop down the branches, but that would be foolish as I like the shade. What would you do? I decide ti remove the source of my frustration and de-nut the area, if I may coin a word. The problem is: I don’t see any. Where does he get them? Does he literally grow them in a secret mini farm?

I decide to follow the squirrel about one day, or rather watch him at play. He is on to me and doesn’t budge from the tree. The neighbor’s cat is intrigued and starts to circle the trunk, round and round, like the tiger in Little Black Sambo. But he doesn’t turn to butter. The squirrel gets super agitated and antsy. He stares back at the overgrown tom in a big face off. Neither moves for a good thirty minutes. The cat trots away, and all is back to normal for a day or two. Not the good kind of normal, mind you, but the status quo as it is.

The third day the cat is back, circling and circling, licking his chops. The squirrel struggles for composure and scoots away. He comes back and this goes on for some time over and over. After a week or so, the poor squirrel gives up and abandons the tree, seemingly for good. I see him down the street in a big elm, munching and cracking away. I have done my job: it’s pest control at work—feline style!

Cool Room Keeps My Computer Cool

Summer brings waves upon waves of heat that last well into early fall. Agh. I can’t think straight when the air is stifling and thick. It invades my space. I bought a new ceiling fan to help cool things down so I could open the windows and breathe some real, albeit hot, air. I found the best ceiling fan online, really happy with it. It may be my imagination, but the unit seems to keep the computer running a little faster than usual.

It’s probably my weird perception of time, but when I am on line for endless hours, or am playing games for what seems like an eternity, I feel like I get into a time warp. Things seem to slow down as I relax into my favorite enterprise. I think my common sense ended with the fan purchase as I am fantasizing about other planes of existence. It is like a kind of meditation or hypnosis—trance-like and sedate. Don’t wake me when I am there.

Your brain seems to lock right into the computer’s mother board after a spell. I do feel in complete sync with digital technology to be sure. This isn’t limited to video games either. I do everything with a tablet, laptop, or smart phone. I am wired in to the world in this wonderful way. So I have to keep cool when the sweat season begins in order to maintain my focus. My little fan does the job well.

Keeping cool isn’t just physical. It is a state of mind having to do with not getting frustrated and upset when things don’t go your way. It is a timely metaphor that makes sense. Chilling out is good advice. If you get a negative post on Facebook, a bad tweet, or a nasty email—just delete it and move on. Technology gives you control over people and situations you encounter. If you must indulge your hurt feelings, give them vent in your own communications. Use technology to free yourself from the yoke of others.

Staying cool means being up to date on new apps, software, websites of note, and assorted online novelties that pique your interest. It means being in the know and in touch. We have never had it so good. From your modest little room (fan whirring away), you can be an international explorer and world class researcher. You can find out just about anything you want to know in seconds. It is a brave new world that will no doubt soon offer more. Count me in.

I like the idea of a coolheaded vixen avatar representing my expertise and experience. She knows how to rock the world with her innate genius. She is smart, self-taught, open to the new, and closed to the old. Modern is her middle name. She is savvy beyond her years and has earned high regard and esteem. She knows just how to wield a mouse and a tweet. Powerful and potent, she epitomizes the digital image of omnipotence. Nothing in the world of the computer is alien or strange.

The Digital Age of Health

Do you let your digital devices run your waking life? Are you hooked on social media, your smart phone, and your laptop every second of the day? Checking email, CNN news, the latest articles on your favorite subjects, your eBay bids, and your bank account balance takes time! As for browsing and shopping, well they are a daily staple of existence. This is the modern way of technological life and its just fabulous.

Right now I am focusing on health since I acquired a super fabulous do everything bathroom scale. It is wired into my world with a Wi-Fi connection. Everything I want to know about weight, body fat, BMI, and so on is in a personal file that only I can see. My cell phone has dozens of apps that keep me up-to-date on dieting and nutrition. When I walk, run, or workout, I wear a handy pedometer that was invented for people like me. We want info, data, stuff to read, watch, and sometimes share.

You used to see high-tech gadgetry in hospitals that keep people alive and breathing. Now you can stay alive and breathing on your own with a few basic purchases. While we all still look the same, act similarly, dress alike, and speak the same slang, our inner world is rocked with ingenious digital devices. It has never been easier to learn how to stay young and healthy for life.

What do you want to know? How to eat right without starving, how to lose weight without getting depressed, how to exercise effectively only three times a week? There are also millions of magical weight loss programs on line and magic potions with exotic Indian herbs inside that stimulate your metabolism to roar in high gear. Vitamins? They are legion. You want to lose in one day with a juice cleanse, by all means. Your digital portal to knowledge and a new lifestyle is waiting.

I know you think we are obsessed and that the computer age has destroyed our ability to think for ourselves. No, I say. It helps us take charge and do our own research. It helps us learn more to earn more in business. It helps us get along better and go along gracefully with other people. It is a parental substitute and a personal guide, without the verbal recriminations.

So I say embrace the digital devices that abound. Get any and all of them, and stay tuned in with the rest of modern humanity. Youth has never been so educated and well-read (although in bites and snips). It has never had access to so much information. I cannot tout them enough. I will always depend on technology to keep me going and a step ahead of the game. It imparts that extra edge to everything you do whether using a scale or a pedometer. The latest greatest software is a click away. As for apps, there is no end to their utility and time-saving benefit. Don’t get left behind.

I Hate Wearing a Brand Label

I would rather die than wear logo clothing. The handbags are the worst examples of status mongering. Louis Vuitton was ok; it was the first of its kind back over a century, but everyone else has joined in, blaring their name to the world. Brands want the publicity at your expense, although you don’t see it that way if you buy their lines. You are a walking unpaid ad, but you could also be labeled a follower with sheep-like devotion.

Not me. I avoid obvious brands like the plague. I have been known to wear Lee jeans, but not Calvin Klein or J Brand. You will not see me in Prada or Gucci, even with hidden labels. It’s about price, sure, but it’s also about mindless submission to the trends. When vintage became acceptable and even popular, I was completely in accord. Recycle old stuff, reuse castoffs, and promote retro style. When you made a personal selection among racks and piles of decades-old designer wear, you exercised your individuality and taste. This is not true about buying the last offerings on the rack.

Designers are often quite innovative, don’t get me wrong. They set trends for a reason. But there is also a lot of fluff going on and shock value for its own sake. Real quality in the realm of couture is rare. And then there is so much imitation. Why are so many doing the exact same look at the exact same time? If they gang together and create a trend that is identifiable, it will sell better and faster. I would prefer to see anarchy than fads.

So…I would rather make my own clothes than succumb to brand dominance. I might sneak in a Gap tee or a pair of Aldo shoes, but for the rest, I am on my own. So how do you do this? First of all, you go to vintage stores as I mentioned and find a few basic pieces. You can alter them and change their shape and add new twists. Since few of us knit, grab a few cardigans and pullovers. Then you go to the fabric store and scour the discount bargain bin. You will find some large pieces, enough for a top or pencil skirt. I follow various fashion bloggers on Pinterest and Instagram, as well as this blog to get ideas. For jackets and coats you are going to have to buy regular-priced fabric as you will need at least a few extra yards. But you only need one of each!

Make your clothing simple and classic so when you add a scarf or jewelry, it will morph into something new each time. Don’t be afraid of some kind of signature color or pattern that identifies you as an individual. If you like plaid, wear it every day if you want, but with a blouse one time and a sweater another. Who will remember? Change the usual shoes to boots in winter and sandals in the summer. It is not mindless to dress for the climate. You will stretch the wearability of each item if you plan carefully and go mostly for year-round pieces. Good luck.

Memories of Mom

Sometimes I like to cook and have assorted gadgets and appliances, some to die for. There were either purchased in a moment of rare culinary passion or were gifts. No matter. I gaze at them in wonder at what they can do to please people. After all, eating is one of our greatest pleasures in life.

The bread maker is not often used, however. It seems like too much work even if more or less automatic. I had looked at the ten best bread machine units according to Appliances Reviewed and had Breville, Panasonic, and West Bend brands at the top of my list. Electronic dual blades, yeast dispensers, custom automatic settings—so much to die for. I could have my crust light, medium, or dark in a flash. I could select a finish to match my kitchen. I could be surrounded by a heavenly scent like no other.

This reminds me of my mother’s homemade bread. Talk about aroma! It smelled so good. She would set them on the counter in tidy rows, some ready for the freezer. Few made it that far as the family indulged itself to the max. Sweet butter, raspberry jam, and the world became divine.

Sandwiches were king in our house as a result of mom’s love of bread making and taking a look at this list on BBC Good Food has me taking a stroll down memory lane. She did so much herself by hand in the old way. We didn’t have gluten-free (it hadn’t become a fad yet). We ate whatever she devised on a given day: white, wheat, rye, sourdough, egg bread, or brioche. French toast was the favorite on Sundays. Rich golden syrup would pool on top and run over the sunny side up eggs.

If we were lucky, we got cranberry or banana bread from time to time. Holiday time meant dinner rolls, popovers, and croissants made from freshly-kneaded dough. She had a myriad of recipes which I have inherited. This reverie must mean I need to bring out the breadmaker and give it a try. I will make many types and wrap them prettily in plastic wrap tied with bright ribbons. Homemaker thoughts are starting to populate my brain.

Okay. It’s later. I had a few failures after a bit of trial and error; but in the long run I got amazing results. The kitchen is filled with the fragrance of flour, butter, and vanilla. Bits of dried fruit sleep lazily on the countertop next to the sink. I expect a raft of visitors to be drawn in by the aroma. It actually isn’t long. (I called a few friends and tantalized them with the words “a surprise.”)

Sitting happily around the kitchen table we each eat a fair share. Bread is best when fresh and there is no point in saving it for later. I can just make more. After all, I have finally gotten the hang of it. Some of us go for sandwiches; some for the bread as is with butter. We all try multiple types, commenting on our favorites and the best for Christmas gifts. It is a wonderful and homey experience.

Trying To Find The Right Backpack For Me

I am relatively picky about what type of day pack I am going to need for my stuff. All right, all right, it’s always my sweet iPad that I’m thinking about with these bags. What else am I going to watch my reality shows on? My iPhone isn’t going to cut it. I take that baby everywhere, so of course I need something that is going to get the job done, for sure. It needs to be protected and easy to reach.

But most importantly, I need it somewhere that isn’t obvious. I want to feel comfortable leaving this bag in a spot for a moment without someone knowing exactly where my precious iPad is residing. Compact is good but I also need something discreet.

What about your iPhone, you ask me? Of course I am considering that. Are you mad? A pouch to place that in would be amazing. I need something that will allow me to store away my phone safely but allow me access to it immediately. That can’t be too much to ask for.

I also want something that is relatively lightweight and comfortable. I’m carrying around some important electronics and paperwork, but I don’t need something that is a bit excessive on the weight side for what I am doing. If I am going to be walking around and about as much as I do, lighter is significantly better. I’m not going to be young forever, you know.

Now, amongst everything else I have mentioned, affordability is one of my biggest priorities here. Considering how low my needs are with this day pack, something relatively simple with an affordable price with room for additional things would be up my alley. When it comes time to buy something, I always research online first to read reviews – so that was what I did. I did a search for cool backpacks to see if I could find which ones would be the best for what I needed.

This was when I discovered the Osprey Porter 46 and went searching for reviews like this one on YouTube. The first thing that drew me in to this back is the variation between backpack and daypack. It’s a bit versatile with needs which is what I really want right now. When I am not using the back, I can conveniently wrap it up into a small ultra pouch and carry that around everywhere.

I fell in love with it right away. It’s a reasonably sized bag and doesn’t seem like it weighs that much. It comes in five different colors: black, new black, red, new red, and pink. It even has a sweet little design on the front. I really liked that, the different options for appearance. I can get a little creative with that.

There’s even a pack in pocket that is perfect for my iPad. It was just calling for my precious tablet. In the front, there’s a zipped pouch that I could put my iPhone when I am not using it. The entire backpack is well cushioned to protect my electronics. But it doesn’t stop there, it’s even waterproof. There are plenty of places I walk by that have fountains and water features, so avoiding that is a plus.

Lastly, because of convenience, bottle holders. This entire backpack will be both comfortable and convenient.

Online privacy & security

Internet-SecurityI mentioned in an earlier post about the whole thing to stay anonymous on the Internet. I had to learn a lot along the way, and sometimes I think I know more than I care to about the whole subject. But it is what it is.

I did decide to make this post about online privacy and security because I know that a lot of my friends don’t have the time or the patience to find out about it. So maybe this will help them some.

I think back about 5 years and while there were the creeps that showed up on posts and comments, the average poster wasn’t too worried about the hackers and data thieves because that was for corporations and government agencies to worry about. I think it’s hilarious that someone was spying on the American government and corporations while they were spying on us. Maybe they should take care of their own affairs first before sticking their faces in our business.

Anyway, now everyone has to worry about everyone else when trying to keep their identity safe. If you are going down this road, then you want to do it as cheap as possible because you might be wasting your money getting protection or buying anonymity that you don’t need.

I think history shows that when it comes to basic security, Apple has a much better record than Windows. But if you’re stuck with Windows, you need to get some good quality anti-virus software. Before you go out and buy anything, check with your Internet provider because they might supply it as a free download and it is just as good as what you buy off the shelf. Just make sure to keep it up to date.

It doesn’t matter if you are an Apple or Windows user; a VPN is well worth the price. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and what it does is to run your location through 100 other servers, making it really hard to find out your connection address or IP address as the techies call it.

Not all the threats to invade your anonymity and privacy come from those we think of as bad guys. If you have a Gmail account or use Google+ there is a lot of information being collected about you through cookies. Google cookies are everywhere on your computer. Check it out and find out for yourself. From what I read, the email messages and attachments become the property of Google after 6 months, so they can sell the information to whoever is willing to pay for it. That personal message you went to your mom has your email address, her email address, and the subject matter of whatever you discussed. You don’t get a free email address and gigabytes of storage for free. It’s an illusion.

Google is an easy target, but many of the free email boxes such as Yahoo are also collecting your personal information.

The answer I found is to see if there are email boxes you can get that will guarantee the privacy of your information because you are paying for it. Just because you pay for an email box does not mean your privacy is guaranteed, so check it out first. Paying for a web hosting service that has email boxes available is another route you may want to take to ensure your privacy.

Before I end this post, I want you to know that many browsers have what they call “private browsing” which is a special browser window that does not store cookies or your browsing history on your computer. But your Internet service provider still keeps a record, so the reality is the private browser window only makes you feel safe and secure.

I know, it’s a pain. Who can you trust anymore to give you an anonymous presence on the Internet?

Why I luv reality TV

imagesOK, I really like reality TV. Really. Truth is, I luv it.

It seems it’s OK for a woman to admit they are into reality TV more than a guy. I have guy friends who prefer it to football. Really, I’m not so sure I believe them. But I guess women are stereotyped to liking these reality shows much like they were stereotyped to liking soap operas in the retro days. Time has moved forward but it seems we are still stuck with the stereotypes.

Anyway, seeing how so many people think it’s stupid and for the mindless, it is a risk admitting it publicly. I am neither stupid nor mindless but still luv my reality shows. Every generation has their fads, and some still hang around. There is something positive about going retro and I guess I look at reality TV as being a more modern version of the daytime soap operas. By the way, those daytime retro soaps are now seen in the afternoon and at nighttime on certain able channels. So there is hope!

Why do I love reality TV so much? I guess I see myself as kind of introspective. You know, where you look at yourself and wonder why you did certain things or why you are the way you are. So when I see these people from all over doing crazy things, and a lot of them seem to be doing it for the money, I wonder if I would be as daring and expose myself to public ridicule. I mean, that is what they’re doing, right? But I also put myself in their place and think that most people will forget who I am and what I did anyway, so where really is the risk.

The thing is, I’m not really shy but then I am not an extrovert. Laughing at yourself and your human weaknesses is not an easy thing to do. But I think that’s what a lot of these reality TV show people do when the camera is off of them. It is hard for me to believe that these people take the whole thing seriously. Think about the most embarrassing moments in your life. Who was around? Family? Friends? Enemies? Now do you think they will let you forget those moments? They may even have pictures or videos of them. Look at Facebook.

I look at myself and think if embarrassing yourself is the worst thing that can happen in your life. Yeah, people can make your life miserable, but only for a while. Then it’s back to normalcy. I can laugh at myself because everyone makes mistakes, and realizing you embarrassed yourself is just one of those things. I will get over it, and so will everyone else.

Which is the reason reality shows are reality – because in the end it’s all about having fun and knowing you are capable of doing the same stupid things. Just with fewer people around. Yeah, everyone seems to want their name on TV or the Internet (in a good way) for all their friends to see, so if you can laugh at yourself then it’s all good I guess.

There’s something I should have mentioned about my luv for reality shows. I admit I am a drama queen. OK? Deal with it. That said, what reality shows do for me is help take me away from the misery I see so often on the news. Life is hard enough with bills to pay and problems to solve. I can go to bed at night knowing there is no such thing as normal.

Anonymous expression online

anonymous computerBefore this whole NSA thing, the Target data breach, and now I find out that there are hackers who can lock down your computer with a password only they know, I was happy going online. I am a poster girl. Not that kind if poster girl. I like to post on the major news sites like Yahoo!, CNN, and MSN. Now I am rethinking putting my identity out there for all to see.

I also like my anonymity and privacy. Think of it as a dressing room. Whatever I am doing in there is my business, no one else’s. When it comes to my online activity, privacy is number one. People hacking into my computer or tracing me through cookies or add-ons is just creepy. But the thing is, I still like to post online. It’s just that I have to be extra careful. It’s a girl thing, you know? I am a woman. I want my voice to be heard as a woman. Just because the government is being creepy doesn’t mean I have to give up my gender identity or my First Amendment rights.

Truth is, I am sick of it. So I decided to start this blog and express my opinions whether anyone likes it or not. I’m independent that way. I can hide my virtual self in a number of ways, limiting any crap from the government and avoid being targeted by any number of special interest or advocacy groups. I think these advocacy groups target women to join more than men. Don’t ask me why I feel that way. I have very strong opinions about some things and realize what I say isn’t going to sit well with everyone.

You have to realize that this approach also has its downside. I have been virtually spayed. Instead of “I am woman” I now have become “I am anyman.” There is a good possibility that any good ideas I have will be lost in virtual reality. And considering the hackers and data thieves out there, all doing it for money, there is a better chance that someone will use my ideas to “generate income.” Yeah, right.
Off my ideas. That thought gets me PO’d at times, but personally I don’t think it’s worth the risk of exposing myself to these same people.

I thought about changing my mind and putting my real identity out there. If I do that, and obviously a lot of people do that if you look at Facebook, Twitter, and a lot of others, then my personal info is out there for potential employers to look at. I have read the horror stories. No thanks. Add them to the government who is always trying to look up my dress and it just doesn’t seem right. Or safe.

Then there are those “Instacheck” database services that you pay to get the dirt on your friends or potential boyfriend. Of course, if they’re popular you can always go to TMZ. But the information they provide is neither guaranteed to be accurate nor up to date. If they put something out there about me that is false, I can’t undo it in the minds of whoever reads it. The damage to your image is done and possibly your reputation as well.

At the beginning of this I mentioned the newest fad among the creeps who lockdown your computer with a password they only know. What I didn’t mention is they hold your computer for a ransom payment. Pay up and you get your computer back. Maybe. Who’s to say they can’t get at the contents of your computer? If you pay the ransom by credit card, they have your credit card number. It seems like a lose-lost situation.

My number one goal is to be financially successful. These lazy, international losers who decide they want to live off my hard work don’t deserve one dollar of my hard earned money. This is very important to me right now, and in the big picture I think there is too much risk to put my face out there.

OK. I agree. There are trade-offs I am making. I have thought about it too much. The more I think about it, the more I think I worry too much. If that’s possible. For now, I am willing to make the trade-offs to keep my name off the grid. Right now it seems to be well worth it.

Why I luv Apple


I used to be a Windows fan girl. I know that sounds weird since Windows is more for techies. But with the million programs available and the better graphics, it was cheaper to own. Besides, most of my friends had it and trying to share files with a Mac user sometimes was hard. Add to this that if you decided to go to college, most of the classes expected you to use Word or PowerPoint for your projects. Even better was you could go to the campus bookstore and get discounts on Windows products. Shopping and saving money is the best.

Then iPads came along. They were light and looked cool, plus even corporations started buying them for their traveling executives. The thing is, a lot of Windows gurus were mocking Steve Jobs for developing the iPad, saying it really didn’t have a place in the computer market. I think I remember people saying the same thing about the iPhone. So it seems that it’s really not about what the best product is, but whose side you are on. I went against the crowd and bought the iPad. Turns out Jobs has a pretty good sense of what people wanted, while Microsoft was telling people what they needed.

I like Steve Jobs for a lot of reasons. He is kind of an underdog in the computer world despite the fact that he happens to be a genius. Anyway, after the iPad came the iPad Mini – and people said that wouldn’t find a place in the tablet market. Wrong again. My friends give me grief for being an Apple fan girl, but who cares! I like my decision and it has opened up a new world to me. I can do a lot of the simple computer maintenance stuff with OSX that took me hours to learn with Windows. A lot of it is intuitive. Jobs made things simple for non-techie people by giving them what they needed instead of telling them what they needed. I said goodbye to Microsoft a few years ago and realized I was the one who was limiting myself.

Uh oh. I just saw that Microsoft is now marketing Office for the iPad. They are like a bad ex-boyfriend who just keeps coming back.

Let me say straight out what the truth is about Apple products. The cost a lot more. They are built to a higher standard of quality. They are proprietary with a lot of their technical stuff. Upgrading them can be a real pain in the ass as I found out after buying my first Mac Mini. With all that said, they last a long time and are more than dependable. I haven’t has a problem with any of my Apple purchases in all the years I have had them, which include the iPhone, iPad, and Mac Mini.

The last thing I want to say on this issue of me being an Apple fan girl is that I am not an Apple addict. I haven’t seen a good reason to upgrade my iPhone 4 because there isn’t much that impresses me about their latest models. The same can be said for the Mac Mini and the iPad. I think the reason for this is there is simply more competition – and Steve Jobs died. His loss is our loss. Since his death, Apple has been pretty mediocre. I’m not sure about the future of the company. They are starting to buy innovation from other companies, like they just did with Beats by Dre. What will I do if Apple goes under? What if Apple products start looking like Microsoft products?

Why Apple TV was the best purchase I ever made

31rYKKB4zFL._SX300_For those who haven’t heard of Apple TV, especially my Windows friends, Apple TV is not a TV. It is a service. And as an Apple fan girl I had to have one, if nothing else, to impress and irritate my friends. LOL.

Actually, Apple TV is a box, like Microsoft’s Xbox or a PlayStation. The one thing I like about it are all the Internet services I can access with it. In case you’re wondering, there is a lot of guy stuff available. Honestly, I don’t think it was created for us gals. Now that might seem biased, because everything that is available on iTunes Store – the music, movies, and TV programs – can be accessed by the service. So that includes some of my fav shows like MadMen, Girls, and Pretty Little Liars.

But then come the cable channels. NBA, NHL, MLB. And how many gals actually watch the Wall Street Journal cable channel? I know, I know. I would be surprised. But the cable selection seems slanted towards guys.

There are major competitors out there like Roku and Google TV (which actually I think is pretty cool) but they are trying to gain an audience by being lower priced. I call it cheap because with Apple you know you are going to get quality inside and out of the box.

Speaking of out of the box, I’ll admit when I first opened the box from UPS I was far from thrilled. No pink??!! LOL. It looked sort of like a security scanner you see at the mall. But I knew what I was getting – the quality hardware and reliability of an Apple device. So I set it up, which was super easy, and once I was on line I was hooked.

I mentioned about the iTunes Store services you get, but you can also take the music even if it is on a Windows based computer, and play it on an HDTV. Competitors and Windows fans complain about how hard it is to play the Apple iTunes download format, but you pay for quality. Open up your purse and spend a few dollars for quality!

I forgot to mention that the value of my Apple TV will increase because the more iTunes Store content that becomes available, the more I can access. That makes it more of an investment than an expense.

When I am not socializing with my friends in person, I spend time alone entertaining myself. Apple TV is my BF. Here is one place I think I’m just like everyone else. I know it is there when I want it, and can access it without any problems. Unlike my Microsoft friends, I don’t have to worry about red circles or blue screens of death when I am using it.

It’s compatible with all my other Apple computers and devices, so became the showpiece of my room. With all of the compatibility issues out of the way, the box seems like a $99 thank you gift from Apple for being an Apple fan girl. Woo-hoo!