Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keeping Your GPS Happy and Yourself Safely on the Road - by David

We’ve enjoyed almost 8 months now with our Garmin Nuvi 2555. She (“Navi” as we call her) has taken us to the Wenatchee-Leavenworth, WA, area for Christmas 2011. At this moment we are 2/3 of the way through our summer circle trip down through Southern Oregon and Northern California, then up through Idaho and back home.

Life with Navi has been mostly wrinkle free, but we’ve had our moments with her. Through it all we’ve figured out several very important lessons, plus stumbled upon the next great idea in advertising.

Lesson 1 is that your GPS is much smarter than she lets on, and usually much smarter than the driver. I swear that Navi just likes to piss me off. The “voice command” feature is particularly exasperating. She has trouble understanding my pronunciation and then she pronounces many town and street names oddly. For example, she completely mangles “Wenatchee”. On our current trip, as I asked Navi to lead us to the zoo in Sacramento, she could not understand “Sacramento”! “Did you say ‘Lemon Grove’? Navi asked politely. I tried every way I could think of to say Sacramento – in perfect Spanish, Gringo, east coast, west coast, all long vowels, fast, slow, emphasis on the last syllable, etc. No luck. As I got more frustrated, I started yelling at Navi, calling her stupid, and worse. She clearly dug in her heals (if she has heals) and had a little fun with me. “Did you say ‘Salmon Quiche’”, Navi asked in her polite voice, this time dripping with sarcasm. I finally had to type it in, and it’s not the easiest or shortest name to spell. Navi was fine with easy names, like Davis, CA.

Lesson 2 is that you must speak nicely to your GPS. See Lesson 1 above. During our stay in Davis (daughter and son-in-law, with granddaughter, were attending a conference on the UC-Davis campus), we all took a day trip to San Francisco. We know our way around SF, and it soon became clear that Navi was taking us on very out-of-the-way routes to get where we wanted to go. With Jon on his iPhone in Google Maps, this was easily confirmed. Google Maps would have taken us on the most direct route every time. I’m not sure if Navi was still mad at me, or if she was gearing up for this next great advertising gimmick. (See below). But I’m not taking any chances. You know all those stories about drivers that drive off a cliff or drive into a lake? I felt like Navi was speaking to me subliminally and I started imagining us driving off Pier 39 and into the bay! I am convinced that these tragic incidents COULD involve people who were not kind to their GPS. I’m being very patient with Navi from now on.

Now for the next great idea in advertising. There was that whole weird routes thing in SF. But most strange of all was a little unplanned detour on the way to SF. I swear on a stack of satellites that Navi was directing me to an exit off I-80 in order to continue across the bay. Then came Navi’s most irritating feature: whenever you stray off the course set by Navi, she shouts “recalculating” in the most annoying and obnoxious voice. If you really deviate a lot in a short amount of time, then she yells a whole string of “recalculating”’s, one about every 4 seconds. (I've pushed her to her limit a couple times - the AC shut off and the interior lights started flickering). Anyway, I couldn’t figure out why she was yelling the R-word – I was just following her course! And the course set by Navi had by now disappeared from the screen. Very suspicious. I stopped the car and there it was: a new Six Flags near Berkeley, nearly ready to open. (We were right at the gate, with no one else around; it was very much a Chevy Chase-Walley World-Vacation movie moment). Then there was that little subliminal voice again, “this detour brought to you by Six Flags.” We’re convinced that Navi has been partially programmed for this new form of advertising and the next time we run an on-line update we expect the complete program to be implemented. (Should I run this update? If I don't, we COULD someday drive off a cliff or into a lake... you know, that whole "bridge to nowhere" thing. But then if we run the update, Navi gets to choose the detour, as many as she wants, which COULD be a cliff, a lake, or even a McDonald's. What to do, what to do...). 

So lessons learned: be nice to your GPS (it knows what you're thinking) and just get used to the next wave of advertising with a lot of detours. "This detour brought to you by the San Francisco Tourism Commission", "This detour brought to you by Denny's", "This detour brought to you by ___________." Fill in the blank. 

Would anyone like to buy a slightly used GPS with a name and an attitude?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Raymond Boyd Rogers' Rocking Chair

Elsa Rose is only the latest to sit in Grandpa Rogers' childhood rocking chair (circa 1896).

Others that I know of:
Raymond Boyd Rogers
Janet Rogers Waite
Gayle Rogers Lockwood
David Waite
Richard Waite
Nancy Waite Villegas
Karen Waite Boursaw
Linda Lockwood Geissler
Lorna Lockwood Fast Buffalo Horse
Maureen Waite Hess
Lorna Waite Chandler
Brittany LaFortune
Taylor Villegas
Laurel Villegas
Kayla Boursaw

Give Us Back Our Blog!! - by Oscar, Tootsie, and Jimmy

Great Moments in Right-Wing Hysteria

The quotes below are just a few of the ridiculous reactions to ObamaCare and the recent Supreme Court ruling. At least they have an air of reasonableness, correct spelling and grammar, because they spring from sources of right-wing talking points (Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, et al). You should REALLY check out the hilarious comments posted by "regular people" on right-wing blogs! The best, repeated by many: "I'm moving to Canada." Boy, I hope this ObamaCare universal health care idea doesn't spread to Canada and the rest of the industrialized world! 

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:
“It really raises the question of what’s next, what’s allowable. Taxes on people who refuse to eat tofu or refuse to drive a Chevy Volt…this whole ruling I think is ridiculous. It’s a huge expansion of federal power.”

Dr. Keith Ablow, "America's Psychiatrist", on Fox's America Live:
"It absolutely infantilizes Americans because listen, even adolescents or younger kids – they dream of the day when they’re in charge of their own money. Why? Because we know that money has that significance… To treat the American public as though they are pre-adolescent slingshots them back that way psychologically so that they say to themselves, ‘My decision-making capacity isn’t so good.’ …What it does is deposits us back as children, when economically more than ever we need to be adult. You think that Occupy Wall Street looked like a spectacle? Imagine tens of millions of adult children of Barack Obama deprived of their direction, of their monies, right? 99 weeks of unemployment, lots of food stamps, lots of bailouts… Guess what, when the piggy bank ain’t there, these are the people who’ll take to the streets with rocks. Trust me."

Michael Savage
“I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to,” Savage said. “It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication. Therefore neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts’ writings you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying,”

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association, in a Tweet:
"Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land - black robed tyrants are. Constitution now just a piece of paper."

Rep. Michele Bachmann:
“It’s a terrible day for the American people. This was an activist court that rewrote the law to make it even more ineffectual, and even more expensive. So this is a sad day.”