The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Couch Life

The idea of a weeks-long medical leave to recover from my surgery made me giddy! Oh the things I would accomplish! I could write a novel! I would nap! I would take walks when I felt better! I would….

…Play solitaire and watch tv shows about serial killers and cruise ship employees that are allowed to pick up people while on duty. I would spent a lot of money shopping online. I would set up a table near the couch so I could simply not move for weeks.

My couch is starting to feel like a prison. I’m not looking forward to going back to 40 hours a week of stress and nonsense, but it will be nice to leave my living room.

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Forgot To Press the Magic Button

I wrote a post a while back and it was sitting in draft mode. I may publish it with a previous date. I just might do that, don’t you try to stop me!

I have really ignored my site and that’s a shame because next year is the 20th anniversary of bigdumptruck.com and maybe I’ll have to fire things up and offer prizes to people who actually read my posts and can answer questions. Or people who send me money or diamonds. They could get a prize as well. Amazon has a whole thing now where you can offer items as prizes, which makes me laugh when I’m looking at something particularly expensive. I think I get seven visitors a day (probably because I update so infrequently, what with Twitter taking up the ten minutes a day I used to devote to writing here.

If I offer a prize, it will likely be something incredibly useless. I think those are the best prizes of all, don’t you?

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Hummingbirds

I was going to start by quoting the Seals and Crofts song “Hummingbird” which is the only song I can think of about hummingbirds. But really, that one is so pretty, how many do we need?

I spent way too much money on a plant that is supposed to attract hummingbirds yesterday. I think they are amazing, and my goal is to sit on my deck, like the guy on the Titanic who didn’t notice the icebergs, and take photos of the birds when they arrive. If they arrive.

Mandavilla Vine

Mandavilla

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hummingbird in my neighborhood. Maybe some of the neighbors have, as they may have feeders. But me, nothing. I’m not even convinced this plant will do any good. How will they know it’s here? How will they find it? They are probably all 10 miles away in someone’s wildflower garden. Why would they even think to swing by my house to see if I have FINALLY gotten some good flowers?

If any of you personally know a hummingbird, could you send it my way? On a day when I’m here and might see them would be even better.

Thanks!

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Short Stories

I have given myself the task of writing a “Collection” of short stories while I am home recovering from surgery. I don’t know how much writing I will get done because in general I am a horribly lazy person. Maybe I will write a story about a person who had surgery who is trying to write a collection of short stories. Write what you know, right?

The good news is that when I announced I was going to try to do this, I said that I would write crappy short stories, so everyone will have super low expectations. Those are always the best kind of expectations!

Here’s a sample for you.

All those novels she had read about the romance of the starving artist did not cover the very real possibility of dying from the world’s worst caffeine headache by the end of the week. Her tombstone would read “Here Lies Annie Hatfield, dead of a broken heart when her boyfriend, Morning Breakfast Blend, left her in her time of need.”

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A Staples Death Rattle

Did you ever encounter a situation that was so unbelievably silly that you can’t even really get mad as it’s happening, but you get more and more angry about it later? Let me tell you a little story about my Staples adventure!

 

I had been thinking about getting an external keyboard for my iPad mini. Because my printer is low on black ink I ran to Staples and thought I’d see what they had. I’m kind of a Goldilocks when it comes to keyboards so I like to try them out.

 

I found the section with iPad keyboards pretty quickly. All the boxes had “Display Unit” on them (one box per brand/style) so I walked around looking for the display, which didn’t appear to be anywhere in the store.

 

Sales guy approached and I asked to see the keyboards.

 

“We used to have them on display but they took it away.” (Who is they, and why would they do that? And how is this a valid explanation for anything?)

 

“Oh, because the boxes all say ‘Display unit.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“…so there aren’t any in the boxes.”

 

“No.”

 

I wait a moment, because surely he’s going to help me, right? I’m pretty sure it’s his turn to offer up information.

 

But no.

 

“So I can’t even take one out of the box to try it because you literally don’t have any on the shelves.”

 

“Right.”

 

“Just empty boxes.”

 
“Sorry.”

 

Okay, Staples? How is this even remotely acceptable? Aren’t you in the business of selling things?  What is this nonsense of filling shelves with empty display boxes? Watch me walk out the door and not come back the next time I need something tablet or computer related. Because “Display only” boxes with no display is one of the most stupid things I’ve run into in months. And I can go to Target or Walmart or Best Buy and get a damned keyboard and I’ll bet the boxes aren’t empty.

 

Also, train your sales “people” to anticipate my follow-up questions and not give a one word answer to a reasonable line of questions if you want us to bother driving to your store instead of just ordering things online.

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Typewriting

I downloaded a new app today called Hanx Writer. Oddly enough, the Hanx does refer to Tom Hanks, who worked to create an app that replicates his beloved typewriters.

Anyone who knows me at all knows there are three sounds in life that I adore beyond reason; tap dancing, crackling fires, and typewriters. The sound of typing literally lulls me to sleep, which is a dangerous thing when you work in a building surrounded by people typing all day.

But I digress. Go download this free app (Hanx in iTunes) and tell me it’s not fantastic. I actually paid for all three styles of typewriter AND the 99 cent add-on that will let me use these as my keyboard in any app.

Yes, I have a problem, but any time I can give myself a soul-soothing delight for less than $6, I’m all in.

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Time to Think About My Major

When my son was very little he became alarmed while watching An Extremely Goofy Movie. That’s the one where Goofy’s son Max (wait, we’ll get back to the fact that Goofy reproduced later) is going to college. My son went into a complete panic at the thought that he’d have to leave home and go to college. At the time, he had probably just started elementary school (there may even be a post on the subject somewhere from when it happened) so I didn’t even think he knew what college was. But he did understand that you moved away from home and lived at the school, thanks to the movie. And he hated the idea.

So he asked me, tearily, if he would have to go to college. I said that I thought he would want to, but that if it would make him happy, I would go to college with him and be his roommate. He was very happy with this, and dropped the subject completely. (See, parents, sometimes when they are little, it isn’t about being honest with them, it’s about making them feel like you won’t ever put them in a scary situation alone.)

Anyway, I’m a woman of my word and he graduates high school in 2016, so he and I should probably sit down and start to talk about what schools we will apply to, and what my major should be.

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Show Your Love

I hear you all murmuring “How can I show Jody some love?” It’s a common question. I’ll help you out.

First, sure, donate money to worthy causes in my name. That seems like a good thing.

But, if that’s just not enough, we found a gallery in Kennebunkport with an original painting by one of my favorite artists, Edward Gordon. My parents and sister chipped in to buy me a framed print many years ago, and i still stand in front of it and just look at the detail periodically.

I had never seen an original painting of his, and I was giddy about it. For only $14,800 you could buy it for me. Wouldn’t that be super nice of you? I think it would be!

http://www.maine-art.com/ArtDetail.asp?Size=med&Inv=EG1113

If that’s too steep for you, the gallery also had the 9th signed and numbered print of this piece:

http://www.gordongallery.com/current/april-evening.html

It’s only $500 for the large signed and numbered print, or just under $1000 framed. I’ll let you choose.

(I own a small print of this piece http://www.gordongallery.com/current/morningtempest.html . The large on on my mantel is Dreamdancing http://www.gordongallery.com/archive/lithos/dreamdancing.html. The picture of the latter does not do it justice.)

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The Owner

I just got a telemarketing phone call from an uptight-sounding woman. These people call often, according to my missed calls list, so I wanted to answer to get on their do-not-call list.

Me: Hello?
Them: May I speak to the owner?
Me: Excuse me?
Them: The owner.

What would possess anyone to call ANYBODY and start a conversation that way? No identifying who you are at ALL?

You get nothing but a “Please Add me to your Do Not Call list.” We are through here. Thank you for playing. Goodbye.

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Camera [Not] Shopping

I shot with Canon cameras for years, and have owned at least four of their dSLRs until I finally sold some bodies and bought a big girl camera, the 60D.
Then, through magic and wizardry that I can barely understand, I got the opportunity to own a Sony A77 mirrorless (so not really a dSLR) for basically free. It moved me up to the next level camera (comparable to a Canon 7D). It was different. The digital viewfinder still startles me. The controls weren’t the same as my trusty 60D.

Change is hard. It took me almost a whole day to fall in love with this camera and the AMAZING photos it takes. The Canon is my backup now, but I never touch it.
20140501-072942.jpg
Photographers will understand this love when I say I was willing to walk away from thousands of dollars worth of Canon lenses (including L-glass and my first “white” zoom lens, just like the big boys at Sports illustrated) to shoot exclusively with my A77.

The most starting thing? The video it shoots is CRAZY good. The Canon can’t refocus when recording video. The Sony was flawless (although it doesn’t handle extreme low light as well as a dedicated video camera, but that could be my inexperience using it to shoot video.)

Why all the yammering? Sony announced an upgraded version. I wonder how much $$ is in the change jar…

Thing is, my A77 is so good that I won’t even feel bad about not being able to afford/justify getting the new one. That’s saying something.

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