Aviation, Humor

Names Have Been Changed to Protect my Crazy Friends

I recently received a nudge from a friend who wanted to know when I would publish a new post.  He actually enjoys reading my work.  No accounting for taste, I suppose.  Or maybe he’s just hoping I’ll write about him.  Either way, I aim to please.

As you may know, back in the day I flew cargo for a living.  During my first week as a Learjet copilot, I had the experience of a lifetime, all thanks to Avril Lavigne (I told you names would be changed to protect my crazy friends).

I had completed a two week Learjet training course, passed the required checkrides and been flying the line as a copilot for about a week when I had the opportunity to fly a few legs of my route with Avril.  The first two legs of the trip were completely uneventful despite the fact that I couldn’t keep up with what needed to be done and Avril was essentially flying solo.  It was on the third leg of this trip that things got interesting.  I know I’ve said in the past that whatever happens in the plane stays in the plane, but I think in this case suitable precautions have been taken and a small portion of the story needs to be told.

While cruising at an altitude of FL430 (43,000 feet above sea level where you can practically see the curvature of the Earth), Avril asks me to calculate the distance from the airport that we should begin our descent.  Our company standard operating procedures suggest a rather aggressive 2 to 1 descent profile which basically meant that doubling the cruising flight level would give you a distance to start your descent.  When you’re flying a planeload of cancelled checks at 2 a.m., you don’t normally have to fly through the same hoops to which an airliner going into O’Hare at 6 p.m. would be subjected.  So, when I doubled 43 and added a little padding to come up with 90 nautical miles from the airport, Avril agreed with my conclusion.

“But,” he said, “we’re going to do things a little differently tonight.”

Avril had been a freight dog jet jockey for a long time, and since he flew the same route most nights, he was practically on a first name basis with the controllers working that evening.  Each time we were handed off into another controller’s airspace, Avril would ask if we could maintain our cruising altitude for just a little while longer.  Each time, the request was granted, probably because the controllers were just as curious as I was how we were going to pull this off.

Finally, at 43 miles from our destination, Avril calmly keys the microphone and requests a descent, with a languorous smile for me.  His wish is ATC’s command and he pulls the power back to idle and begins our 1 to 1 descent with a happy little chuckle.  I may have heard the controllers taking bets on our success before the transmission cut out, but I can’t be sure.

My duties at this point include completing the appropriate checklists and monitoring communications while Capt. Lavigne is completely focused on our altimeter winding down at a rate in excess of 6,000 feet per minute.  When I checked on with the tower controller, we were cleared to land straight in after he asked, “Are you going to make it?”

“Of course we’re going to make it!” I replied indignantly and without hesitation.  After all, it’s highly unprofessional to sound wishy-washy over the radio, no matter what happens to be going on in the aircraft.  Then, with a questioning glance at Avril, I said, “We’re going to make it, right?”  In response, I think he actually giggled like a teenage girl.

It was the most beautiful approach and landing I had ever witnessed.  We descended from 43,000 feet to sea level and touched down in the landing zone without ever having to move our power from idle or maneuver to bleed off excess airspeed.  It was exhilarating.  It was glorious.  And I loved every second of it.

And I think there may have been more than a few grizzled old air traffic controllers who thought they had seen everything that went home shaking their heads and just a little richer that night.

Thank you, Avril Lavigne, my crazy friend, for a one in a million experience that I will never forget.  Thank you for reading and encouraging me to continue to write.  It means a lot.  And I hope this post brings a smile to your lips that mirrors the one you brought to mine that night.

Humor, Pet Peeves, Uncategorized

WTF TCF?

I am so annoyed with TCF that I’m sorely tempted to withdraw all my money, convert it to gold doubloons, bury it in mason jars in my moonlit backyard while drunkenly belting out beloved sea chanties and herding a pack of rabid, starving wolves with a novelty light saber into said backyard to act as guardians.  It would surely be safer.  FDIC?  Please.  PRSW is the way to go.

PRSW: What are you lookin' at?

This is the email (NOTE: EMAIL!!!) that I received yesterday:

You can no longer use the following account to make online payments because it was deleted:Business CheckingAny automated or scheduled payments associated with this funding account have been canceled.To schedule payments, you must set up a new funding account.To set up a new funding account, simply log in, click the link to add a funding account, and follow the onscreen instructions.
To display your TCF Online Bill Payment information, follow the steps below.

  1. Visit tcfbank.com.
  2. Sign-in to Online Banking.
  3. Select the Bill Payment tab.

If you have any questions, phone us at 1-800-823-2265.

TCF Express Bills

Alert: (234625010)

Thinking it was a scam, I deleted the innocuous little email and went about my day.  As it turns out, this is the only notification I was given that TCF had closed my business checking account.  I only discovered the problem later in the day when I logged on and noticed “closed” listed next to my account number.  Thus began my hopeless, spiraling descent into Financial Institution Hell.

Twenty four hours, five calls to customer service (HUGE oxymoron), two visits to the local branch, one new account opened and then closed, and numberless tears of frustration and probably more than a few grey hairs later, this situation is still not resolved.  It was triggered by an unauthorized signature on a check (we’d never gotten around to putting my husband on the account since we’re hardly ever at the bank at the same time and he had simply forgotten) which TCF has since paid and culminated in a mound of paperwork, hours of phone calls, and an as of yet undetermined amount damage to my business’ reputation for any checks returned during this charade a la Ringling Bros.

All of this pain and consternation could have been avoided with a simple phone call.  What’s wrong, TCF?  Does everyone in your Fraud Prevention department have broken fingers?  Did they forget how to operate a telephone, since they clearly are immune from receiving calls from customers?  Maybe they are all “away from their desks at the moment” shooting paper cones of Hinckley Springs while discussing office politics in between breathless bouts of giggling about the accounts they’ve closed in the last hour just for fun.

Perhaps TCF should provide this free with every account opened.

I decided to do business with TCF for many reasons including their hours of operation, myriad of locations and decent fee structure.  Now, I either have to find a credit union and learn to deal with the shorter hours, no weekends, and only two locations or I have to bend over and invest in some KY and stay with TCF.  Or maybe someone else out there has a suggestion, because I’m fresh out of patience with these banksters.

Either way I’ll be buying mason jars and brushing up on my pirate, matey.  Maybe I’ll make TCF walk the plank after all.  Arrr…

UPDATED:

NEXT DAY…I am currently on the phone with Josh, who was kind enough to let me know that loss prevention would have called me if they had my contact information and is astounded to learn that the branch that I went to twice didn’t simply reopen the account.  It seems the branch manager didn’t know she could do that.  In the meantime, payments to my insurance company and at least one of my utility bills have been returned.  My account is still closed.  But there’s light at the end of the tunnel – Josh is on the job….

Aviation, Humor, Musings, Philosophy

It Is What It Is

The weather this weekend did not live up to my expectations.  In fact, it essentially sucked.  As did the lame attempts of weather gurus to deliver a remotely accurate forecast.

Stone: correct. Weatherman: not so much.

Upon consulting three different weather reporting websites, I invariably received three entirely different forecasts.  To be fair, I do understand that meteorological science is not as advanced as I would like it to be and that weather can be relatively unpredictable and highly localized; However, there’s a big difference between “80 degrees with a slight chance of rain” and “65 degrees with thunderstorms likely.”  Let’s get it together, meteorologists.  If it’s going to be wrong anyway, at least try to put out the same scientific wild-ass guess.  Keep it simple.

As I was holed up in the Cuneo Mansion waiting for the nasty red blotches parading willy-nilly across the screen of my Smartphone Overlord to subside, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity for me to practice calming my inner control freak by chanting “It is what it is” over and over again in the style of a Gregorian monk on anti-depressants.  I fear the people nearest to me may have been slightly alarmed by my display, but that just meant that I had room to stretch out and relax while I composed this post.

As a cargo pilot, I recall a few times that I had the opportunity to simply sit in the pilot lounge and watch the radar with my fellow freight dogs.

"Run" indeed.

Some would vehemently curse the storms keeping us on the ground while others would simply sit back, relax and count themselves lucky to be on the ground wishing they were flying rather than the other way around.  Which group I most resembled depended a lot on whether I thought it might be possible to thwart the evil designs of the torrential downpours or if the squall line had squashed even the most fanciful theories of propelled flight within the next 6 hours or so.  Recently, I find myself craving to be the latter group more often and in many more situations.  I mean, really, in most cases, what’s the worse that could happen?  Will anyone die?  Be horribly and permanently disfigured?  Maimed?  Or will I simply be forced to find something to occupy my time while I wait for the skies to clear?

I have reached this level of Zen on a few occasions, though only after considerable mental self-torture.  When I consider the worst possible outcome and realize that the worst really isn’t all that horrible after all, I’m finally able to convince my overactive inner control freak to take a hiatus to Chill Town for a nice, relaxing walk on Itiswhatitis Beach.

No, thank you. Maybe another time.

Now, what would happen if I imagined the worst case scenario BEFORE allowing my inner control freak unlimited access to the Iron Maiden?  I’d certainly save myself a gray hair or two, that’s for sure.  And that means I’d save some money on hair color.  Hey, it is what it is and I’m good with that.

Humor, Musings

I Want to be a Jedi

Aside from indulging in the unparalleled head rush associated with the ability to influence the weak minded (which, I’m sorry to say, seems to be a vast majority of the population) more often than necessity truly demands, I think I’d make a first-rate Jedi.  I’m short, as is Master “judge-me-by-my-size-do-you?” Yoda.

Fuel up the Tie-Fighter. We're going for a ride.

I like flying, as did Anakin Skywalker prior to that whole Dark Side debacle.  Which, by the way really wasn’t his fault.  I mean, had Obi-Wan not been so lenient with the boy, perhaps he wouldn’t have been so quick to hop into bed (figuratively) with Palpatine in search of a Master truly able to provide proper discipline.  And I would absolutely go with the purple light saber so fashionably sported by Mace Windu.

Yeah, it's purple. You got a problem with that, buddy?

Go on with your bad self, Mace!  Uh, I mean, Master Windu.  Sir.

But as much as I am positive I would rock an earth tone robe and purple saber, I hesitate to throw my lot in with those only willing to look on the Light side of the Force.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Sith.  My skin is much too oily to slather with that much red and black paint without risking a permanent settlement of unsightly zits into the seedy nightlife of New Acne City.  No, I simply think that the Dark side of the Force is just as important to understand as the Light.  After all, one cannot exist without the other.

Maybe Qui-Gon had it right all along:

“Jinn always does things his own way, always sure he is right, always incredulous if we do not see it his way. Some think he is a gray Jedi.” ―Tyvokka, on Qui-Gon Jinn

I could do gray.  Well, as long as it’s not my hair.  I’ll fight that until I’m older than Master “when-900-years-old-you-reach-look-as-good-you-will-not” Yoda. We’ll just see about that, shorty.

Aviation, Humor, Musings, Pet Peeves, Philosophy

Be the Captain

I have had so many things on my mind recently that it’s been difficult to put just one thought to paper, or rather, keyboard.  But, some very excellent margaritas (oh, fine, here’s the recipe, you sots: 1 part Jose Cuervo Especial,

I know I've got some Triple Sec around here somewhere...

1/2 part cheap-crappy-probably-as-old-as-Methuselah Triple Sec, 1/2 part lime juice and 2 parts generic margarita mixer) and a lovely post from my dear friend (can I legally say that about someone I’ve only met by blog?), Bee, has inspired me.  So, suck it up, my friends, and endure my drunken ramblings.  Or not.  Whatever strips your gears, I always say. Am I an alcoholic if I can only compose a coherent, entertaining blog post when I’m inebriated?  Eh, we’ll examine that another time.  I’m low on Cuervo.

“Be the Captain.”  I’ve been stewing on this for a while and I guess it just takes a little bit of mental KY  (i.e. yummy margaritas) to give me the (most likely false) sense of security to write about it.

While I was in training for my freight pilot job, one of my favorite instructors would constantly harp on us to “be the captain.”  Unfortunately, most of us didn’t get it, at least not right away.  Some of us didn’t get it until much later in our careers.  A few of us didn’t get it at all and that’s just one of the reasons not everyone made it through training.  I believe I finally understood what he was talking about about a week after my catastrophic (at least to me) check ride with him.

It started out like any other check ride.  I had all the flight plans in order.  I had confirmed that the aircraft was airworthy and ready for flight.  I was nervous, but I knew I could handle whatever he could dish out.  I would pass my test, and be on the next flight to Midway Airport to collect my car and sleep in my own bed.  But I was wrong.  He wasn’t looking for someone with all the right answers, he was looking for someone who could “be the captain.”

He continuously questioned my decisions.  He played on my fears of incompetency.  He insinuated that potential dangers might exist.  He, quite frankly, made me feel like I had no idea what the hell I was doing thinking that I could possibly operate an aircraft  at all.  He morphed into a complete stranger, mockingly twirling the keys to my future on his index finger while saying, “I don’t know….I suppose I’ll have to discuss your performance with my superior before I can determine what to do with you.”

What if the controller is asleep?

Describing my reaction as “devastated” would be an epic understatement.  I could not comprehend in my wildest imagination what could possibly have gone wrong.  I did whatever he asked, flawlessly.  But that was exactly the opposite of what he wanted.  He wanted me to “be the captain.”

“Being the captain” means assuming the ultimate authority and responsibility for the flight.  The captain makes all the hard decisions.  The captain does whatever it takes to ensure that the flight is successful, safe and efficient.  The captain, is, as far as that particular flight is concerned, God.  He was simply waiting for me to exert my authority as captain and tell him to “kindly shut the hell up.”  The fact that I chose instead to cry like a two-year-old with a boo-boo caused him a considerable amount of consternation.

My point is this: you, too, are the captain.  You have the ultimate authority and responsibility for your life.  Everything is a choice (perhaps some seem more so than others, but they are all choices)  and the final decision rests in your hands.  It’s all up to you.  So, what are you going to do, Captain?

Personally, I’m going to bed.  I have children to send to school in the morning.

Humor, Musings, Pet Peeves, Philosophy

Stress, Anyone?

During my initial training as a freight pilot, one of the techniques used by the instructors to evaluate potential employees was to present an ever increasing set of challenges (weather conditions, aircraft malfunctions, elaborate instructions from “air traffic control,” interruptions from “dispatch,” etc. ) during a simulator session to determine how long you could manage the stress before you started making mistakes.  I have recently come to believe that the Universe has adopted this method of evaluating my mettle simply to amuse Itself.  I haven’t received the results in the mail, but I’m fairly certain I failed miserably.

After a long campaign against cancer and a very short skirmish with the additional hostilities of pneumonia, my father in law passed away last week.  Thus began the dwindling of my faculties and my eventual descent to rock bottom, at which I could be found weeping in a Phoenix Sky Harbor airport restroom stall.

As anyone who has met me can attest, I am a control freak.  I need a plan.  My husband’s family?  Not so much.  Combine this lackadaisical event planning style with poor communication skills and an overload of emotional baggage and you begin to see my growing dilemma.  Without my knowledge or consent, I had suddenly become a circus clown juggling seven chainsaws with a distracted assistant haphazardly lobbing flaming batons in my general direction at odd intervals.  And like the proverbial cherry on top, I was also suffering my normal PMS symptoms of exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and emotional instability.  It was the Perfect Storm of Stress.  I suppose I should be grateful I didn’t maim anyone.

I began this little journey by completely screwing up our travel plans.  I discovered as I attempted to check my husband, two children and myself onto our flight at the ticket counter that the reason I couldn’t print out our boarding passes ahead of time is that the flight I booked wasn’t scheduled to depart for another three weeks.  Luckily, there was another flight within an hour of the one I thought I had booked that was non-stop with seats available and the fantastic women at the ticket counter were able to swap our tickets.

We arrived in Phoenix not knowing where we would be staying or where (or even when) the services would be taking place.  All I knew is that we needed to be back in Illinois on Wednesday for my son’s birthday party, with it’s nonrefundable deposit and invitations already distributed accordingly, on Thursday evening.  I did my best to keep calm and go with the flow while attempting to arrange our return trip with my husband waffling between staying longer to help out his mother and returning on Wednesday with me and the kids.

I was finally able to nail down our return flight standing outside the church immediately prior to the funeral mass on Tuesday.  I know, classy.  To my great surprise, when we arrived to check our bag on our Wednesday morning flight, it turns out that what I had thought was a 9:25 flight was actually a 9:05 flight and we could not check our luggage only 35 minutes before departure.  The next flight was at 6:40 p.m., which I naturally verified 78 times, and trying to figure out what I was going to do to occupy my 3 and 8 year old children for 10 hours at an airport sent me scurrying to the ladies room to blubber away my mascara.

We did finally arrive home at 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning.  I still haven’t recovered my sanity and I really need a vacation.  And a chocolate martini.  Please.

Humor, Pet Peeves

My Husband Fought the Law and the Law Won

My husband is in court today. Why? Because he’s an idiot, that’s why. This is how it went down.

Due to a myriad of contributing factors, we have recently downgraded our family transportation to a single car. One result of this choice is that the children and I drive my husband to the train station for his commute to work and then pick him up again each evening. About two weeks ago, I received a call from my wonderful husband approximately an hour before his train’s arrival time in which he confessed to me, a hint of incredulity in his sheepish voice, that he had been arrested.

Evildoers Beware!

Since we hadn’t planned any bank heists, instances of masked vigilantism, or naked jaywalking escapades, I understandably had considerable difficulty processing this information, so I shook my head to dissipate the fog of skepticism and responded with an eloquent, “You what?”

Thus began a series of events that I am still having a hard time believing possible. Still not quite understanding what was going on, I was told that the Metra Police (seriously – train cops – I had no idea) were taking my husband “downtown” (I thought that only happened in the movies) for processing. Knowing that in Chicago traffic, it could take me hours to reach the facility where my husband was being held, I loaded the children in the car, set up the GPS, and headed to McDonald’s (or The Golden Arches of Kiddie Mecca) to purchase a dinner that my children might actually eat after playing with (and most likely fighting over before breaking) their cheap plastic toys, before embarking on my journey to bail my spouse out of the Big House.

Enroute to the clink, I had to pull over on the highway to try to clean my 3-year-old daughter’s regurgitated McNuggets from, well, everywhere, with the solitary diaper wipe left in my “Adventure Pack” as my 7-year-old son completely lost his marbles in his utter abhorrence to being in close proximity to his sister’s puke.  In my haste, I did not put extra clothes in my Adventure Pack, and was forced to move the most heavily soiled articles, (jacket, booster seat cover, floor mats) to the trunk and allow my daughter to stew in her shirt and leggings holding her crusty lovey, Bob, before continuing my trek.

Bob, post bath

The Metra Police building where my husband was being held was surrounded by an immense fence which I was only able to access after being flagged down by officers that had just exited the compound and given instructions to “drive to the gate, press the button, drive to the westernmost building and wait in the car for an officer to meet you.”  The officer that met us told me that my husband was being transferred to the Chicago Police and we had to wait in the car.  We waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We were not allowed inside the building until my son and I had to urinate so badly we had seriously considered the side of a police car a viable alternative if we could only be sure we wouldn’t be caught on surveillance video.  As our eyeballs floated, we were finally escorted into the building to pee and make an attempt to more thoroughly clean up my daughter.

Before they transferred my delinquent husband to the Chicago Police, a Metra Sergeant arrived and asked if my husband had ever been arrested before.  When I answered, “No,” he responded that processing always takes a long time for first timers and that it would most likely be a while before they wrapped things up at the Chicago station.  So, I appealed to my parents to come rescue the children for the night (I still can’t decide who was more excited by that prospect, my parents or the children) and followed the Metra officer’s vehicle, with my husband handcuffed in the back, to the Chicago slammer.

This could take a while

My husband was finally sent on his way on an individual bond at about 1:00 in the morning after about 10 hours in the poky.

His crime? He was on the wrong side of the train that had just pulled into the station, so he went under the train to get on.  This action is, apparently, a felony.  The engineer saw him, had a conductor remove him from the train and turn him over to the local police, who then transferred him to the Metra Police, and then, of course, to the Chicago Police.  Because my miscreant of a husband was so polite and cooperative, the Metra Police decided to “take it easy” on him and only charged him with a misdemeanor.

His punishment?  Twenty hours of community service and attorney’s fees.  Seriously.  I wish I had the imagination required to make this stuff up.

The moral of this story?  Don’t be an idiot.  It could be a felony.

Humor, Musings, Pet Peeves

Technical Difficulties – Part Two

As of my last post, Technical Difficulties, which was so long ago that it’s been archived in my mind, I had vague suspicions regarding my new smartphone‘s role in the untimely demise of my faithful Gateway laptop.  Now, circumstantial evidence is piling up and tipping the scales of justice in ugly confirmation of the Optimus V’s unrepentant guilt.  At this moment, I am writing this post into Notepad on an ancient Dell Latitude that cannot access the internet and I think my smartphone is responsible.

After the Gateway kicked the bucket, I was left with two geriatric laptops each holding one way tickets on the Worm Express to Recycle-ville and a desktop which had been subsequently promoted to the family workhorse.  The desktop is also old, but we’ve never had any issues with it beyond the occasional easily eradicated virus.  However, once my trusty laptop bought the farm, the desktop began having more serious issues.  Coincidence?  I think not.

First, it picked up some malware that would not only try to trick me into installing who-knows-what with fake virus scans and infiltration warnings, it would also not allow me to access any site on the internet but the one which “proves” that it’s a legitimate product and encourages me to purchase and install the program “for protection” as if it’s some cheesy Mafia goon running an insurance racket.  When I ignored the “warnings” for too long trying to discover the magic words to banish the malware from my hard drive, a pornographic pop-up would appear to get my attention.  Nice.  My 7 year old son uses this computer.  Thanks a lot, computer-virus-writing-jerks, that really made my day.  I had no choice but to distract the boy with the Infinite Rufio Bros. app on my phone so that I could deal with the offending code and it’s slutty web girls clarion call.  This proved to be about as difficult as Smeagol’s attempts to escape the insidious and malevolent grip of the One Ring.

Precious? Is that you?

My husband, who is no slouch in the I.T. arena, decided that the only solution was to wipe and reinstall the drive.  This means that I have to reload, reconfigure and essentially rebuild everything to my exacting specifications in order to comfortably accomplish anything at all on the desktop.   I will also have to set up my son’s profile so that he can easily get to his approved sites (Panfu, Lego, Nickelodeon, Cool Math4 Kids, etc.) without being subjected to pop-ups directing him to naked internet bimbos.  Since this process will take some time, I have been relying on my smartphone to keep up with my email and satisfy my addiction to Facebook.

Then my niece asked us to burn a couple of DVDs for her which culminated in a mysterious intermittent DVD burner failure.  Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t.  When I sent her a text explaining why it is going take a little longer than expected for her to receive the disks, I could almost hear maniacal giggling coming from my smartphone.

Most recently, my inability to write efficiently using the Swype function on my Optimus and therefore work on any posts without suffering headaches and index finger cramps was causing severe blog withdrawal symptoms (depression, D.T.s, a decrease in narcissism and megalomania, fatigue, you know the drill), so I was determined to use the desktop to update totallytawn, regardless of whether it was restored to it’s former glory.  That’s when my adorable 3 year old daughter decided that it was infinitely more important for me to sit on the couch with her and watch the new episode of Bubble Guppies than it was for me to do anything at all with the desktop in the office.  The girl is cute and difficult to disobey.  I decided to do both with the help of the Dell laptop…which somehow cannot access the internet anymore.  And is so old that it suffers from Senior Moments in which it forgets what it was doing and has to be restarted.  And is so slow that it would lose a race against molasses going uphill in winter by a wide margin.

(Insert long suffering sigh here)

As the Optimus rests innocently next to me, I can’t help but wonder two things: how did it convince the girl that she could not possibly watch Bubble Guppies without me and does it have the power to subjugate a Mac?

Humor, Musings, Philosophy

Technical Difficulties

It seems the Universe is speaking to me.  The transmission is generally one by one (weak and unintelligible), but the message is vaguely understandable when I adjust the squelch and dampen the static.

This past Thursday, my beloved laptop gave up the ghost.  It had been slowing down and occasionally locking up in it’s old age, but it’s processor had always been healthy and spry, especially after a nice defragmentation and cache cleaning.  As I had no advance warning of it’s death throes, I was not even permitted the closure of being present to say goodbye in it’s final moments of electronic vitality.  It simply slipped quietly into the Dirt Nap Hotel.

R.I.P.

Upon discovering my machine pushing up daisies, I did what anyone would do – after reining in my growing panic, I tried to resuscitate it.  I checked the power cord thinking it may have just come unplugged and drained the battery.  Nope, not the problem.  I held down the power button believing that could restart it.  No response.  I raced to Best Buy fervently hoping that the Geek Squad could determine whether a power cord transplant would revive my mechanized companion.  They pronounced it D.O.A.  In the span of five minutes while my back was turned, it had been reformatted by God and transformed into an expensive brick.

In a murky haze of shock and grief, I purchased a USB hard drive enclosure kit in the scant possibility that it was the laptop’s internal power supply that answered the last call and its hard drive could be salvaged.  Even this final vestige of data was denied to me.  My Gateway had passed into cow-spotted hardware heaven and been promoted to subterranean truffle inspector.

I celebrated its existence and subsequent passing into the Garden of Forever with a bottle of Bacardi Classic Mojito, but the timing of its solo flight began to bother me.  It seems more than a little suspicious that I had just finished updating Quickbooks and uploaded a backup to Dropbox a mere 12 hours before it’s final departure.  This was something that I had never done before and I would have had to reconstruct a tremendous amount of data and been forced to languish in Quickbooks Hell for perhaps another 6 months if this backup was lost.  And then there’s the addition of the new smartphone to my electronic family to consider.  Could this have been a coup?  Is my Optimus V a murderer?  I can only assume there’s an app for that.  Perhaps my trusty laptop was only able to defend Castle Quickbooks long enough for King Backup to slip past enemy lines and elude assassination.

In any case, the sudden relocation of my laptop to Tomb Town has left me at a crossroads.  I could start saving for a new laptop or perhaps a new, more powerful and less expensive desktop.  Or I could simplify my aging home network of two unused geriatric laptops, a middle aged desktop and an adolescent smartphone by simply designating the desktop as the primary family machine and using the Optimus in place of my deceased Gateway.

The fact that I have been searching for ways to simplify my life and reduce the clutter and distractions is not lost on me.  Neither is the fortuitous timing of individual circumstances which brought me to this decision.  Perhaps I am, in fact, reading the Universe loud and clear as I hesitantly start down the latter path by sending the two unused geriatric laptops to the dance floor for their last horizontal tango.  Or perhaps that’s just what my Smartphone Overlords want me to think.

Humor, Musings, Philosophy

Cellular Slavery

Armageddon is upon us.  The human race is merrily skipping down a path leading precariously toward our imminent doom at the dastardly hands of our own technology without even stopping to smell the gossamer petals of reason.  We have patently ignored the counsel of the blackest fears dredged from the abyss of our collective imaginations, and are stubbornly careening disastrously near the precipice of annihilation.  Heed the clarion call of lucidity – beware the phones!

I deduced our peril only recently, having acquired my own Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V “smartphone” (they don’t even make an attempt to hide their nefarious plot for world domination!) featuring the Android 2.2 OS.  In less time than the life span of a gastrotrich, I have become hopelessly enslaved to it’s marvelous 3.2″ touchscreen with a virtual QWERTY keyboard and Swype® text entry.

We have come for your SOUL!

In my ignorance, I wholeheartedly welcomed my desolate ruin by spilling every last intimate detail of my identity – contacts, passwords, Facebook friends, loyalty card numbers, and even my favorite sexual positions (yes, there is an app for that) – faster and more candidly than a sinner at the gates of Heaven.  It knows everything.  It even has access to my blog.  I can only hope that my feeble warning escapes detection long enough to unmask it’s fiendish treachery before it’s callous reach becomes global.

Relegated by some to the realm of “electronic leash,” the smartphone is, in fact, much more than an innocent communication tool designed to make human lives more productive.  They are an electronic swarm of artificial intelligence bent on usurping humanity’s place in the cosmos and effectually transforming us into biological automatons whose only purpose is to repair, charge, clean and otherwise care for the devices’ every physical need.   They are computerized body-snatching tyrants overseeing our collective subjugation.

It’s too late for me.  I cannot even complete the most intimate of bodily functions without leave from my smartphone overlord.

Save yourself.

Step away from the iPhone, it will pillage your very soul.

Please, before it’s too late.