Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

Or, Why My iPhone Battery Loses its Charge so Quickly

Photo by Wenni Zhou on Unsplash

Once again my iPhone’s charge is down to 30%, and it’s only 5 p.m. It’s all Medium’s fault, really; once again, I’ve spent too much time reading and writing here, and once again I’m probably going to have to put the phone on the charger just to get me through to bedtime.

I blame the problem on Medium: there are far too many interesting stories I have to read, and it’s far too easy to write my own stories on my iPhone.

So you see, it’s not my fault at all. (Echos of Han Solo: “Hey, it’s not my fault!”)

All kidding aside, when it’s 16° outside and snowing, and I’ve caught up to all my shows on Netflix, there’s not much else I enjoy more than drinking tea, reading, and writing. Especially on a lazy Saturday.

Except for the fact that I’m retired, and so all of my days are lazy Saturdays.

Look, a girl can read only so many vampire novels before she needs a break.

And my favorite break consists of another cuppa and reading stories on Medium.

Which inevitably leads me to writing one or three of my own. Which is a Good Thing™, because it keeps me off the streets and out of the bars.

Medium has done a lot for me in the year and a half I’ve been writing here: it’s introduced me to other writers who I follow almost religiously (I say “almost” because agnostics don’t do anything religiously), a few who follow me, and as a result my own scribblings have improved.

My hometown of Rochester, NY, isn’t famous for its bus system, and I have no car. So I can’t get to any writer’s workshops or support groups.

Instead, Medium serves that purpose for me.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Indeed, Medium has also become my social medium of choice for communicating with the outside world. James Finn, Michelle Monet, Ezinne Ukoha and several others too numerous to mention always brighten my days with their stories…all without the constant bickering and name-calling that finally drove me away from Facebook.

So it’s time to fess up and come clean: my name is Robyn, and I’m a Mediumaholic.

Come Down From Your Ivory Towers and Give Us Things We Actually Need

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

News flash: scientists in Brazil think it’s time to bioengineer spicy tomatoes. You can read about it right here.

Yes, I’ve read all the arguments in favor of the benefits, and I agree with them: spicy tomatoes would indeed have many benefits.

And yet…

(There’s that nasty little phrase again.) Sure, I’d like spicy tomatoes, just to eat them. They’d be great in Tex-Mex dishes, and would even add a welcome zing to Italian sauces.

But I have two words: Ro-Tel Tomatoes.

So I myself don’t really need a spicy tomato. But you know what we could really get behind? And by “we,” I mean the vast number of consumers who buy beautiful tomatoes at the grocery store, take them home and end up disappointed?

If you can bioengineer a spicy tomato, why not instead create something with a ready-made market?

Why not create a tomato that actually tastes like a tomato?

You’d make millions of vegans, vegetarians, and people like me — who enjoy a nice BLT — extremely happy.

And not that it matters, but you’d be on the fast track for a Nobel prize.

And it’s driving me crazy

Some background

It’s not really new…just new to me. See, when my ex and I were together and I was getting a decent monthly check, we (me, my ex, and her daughter) each got new iPhones. Then her daughter got stupid and ended up in a situation where she’s not going to need her phone for a very long time.

So about 3 months ago, my ex gave it back to me so I could cancel the line and return the phone. Which I still haven’t done.

(I’m not making any excuses, but if you’ve ever suffered the Dementor known as clinical depression, you’ll understand why I haven’t brought myself to return it.)

So all 3 devices were pretty much the same: iPhone 6S Plus. The only difference? I got the one with 16 gigs of memory, while the other two got 32 gigs.

As a result, I’m constantly removing and reinstalling apps from my device.

Then The Lightbulb Lit!

Yesterday I had the brilliant idea of switching phones! I’ll switch to the 32 Gb model!

Before doing so, I figured I’d check the battery level on it. But plugging it into the charger–and since I had already wiped the phone clean and reset it to the original factory settings–as soon as I plugged it in, it went into its start-up mode.

Once I was done with that, it then (automagically) downloaded and installed the latest IOS version…

…which took up the better part of an hour.

If you’re setting up a new iPhone and you already have one, a screen comes up on the new phone. All you have to do is activate the camera on the old one and holding it so that the image on the new one completely fills the screen on the old one.

That triggers the mechanism that copies your settings to the new phone. And once that was done, the new phone asked me if I wanted to restore everything from the recent backup made on the old phone.

Which is what I did, only to discover that only the icons for all the applications and not the apps themselves were restored. So yet another hour was spent as the new phone automatically downloaded the applications (and their data) from the cloud.

Except not all of the data and settings were restored. Several apps required me to go into them and enter my login data. I don’t have an issue with that: after all, it’s a question of account security and they’re just making sure I’m who I say I am.

The problem is that several apps didn’t copy over my settings and preferences to the new phone. So now I’ve got to spend a couple of hours trying to get those apps to function correctly.

Sometimes Technology Sucks

Especially when “upgrading” to a new device. But no worries: I’ve already been singing.

tea quote

For me, there’s no worse way to start my day than coming downstairs and finding the kitchen full of people who all want to talk to me. Out-of-town visitors. Local friends. Complete strangers to me. My roommate knows better.

I’m not a “morning person.” It usually takes means a good 30 minutes to wake up enough to even begin to be sociable.

And a crucial part of my morning routine involves a tea ritual: I empty the tea kettle, fill it with fresh cold water, and put it on the stove to boil. While it heats up, I carefully measure out 2 teaspoons of my choice for the day: either a strong black Assam tea or a spiced version of the same blend. I always use whole-leaf tea.

I add the tea to the pot and wait for the kettle to boil. While waiting, I look out the kitchen window to see how the garden is doing. This week, the lilies are in bloom. In the evening, as the temperature falls, their aroma wafting through the house can be intoxicating.

Finally, the kettle comes to a boil. I pour the water over the tea leaves, set the timer, and wait patiently for the water to work its magic on the leaves.

This morning it’s Cardamom Spiced Assam. It’s a lovely blend from India. In fact, it evokes such memories of other times, other places, that I can almost hear Ravi Shankar performing a morning raga is the leaves steep.

Finally, the tea is ready. It’s a deep brown liqueur, hinting at hidden delights. I pour my cup and add a bit of sweetener and a splash of milk. I still haven’t managed to replicate the tea served by my favorite Indian restaurant, but it’s close. It, too, is intoxicating.

“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea.

I liked the Irish way better.” ― C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman

I close my eyes, raise the cup to my lips, and let the first sip perform its magic.

Now  I am awake. Now I am human. Now  you may speak.

Or is it just an excuse?

Last night my friends Rick and Kirk from Syracuse came to visit, and we stayed up far too late watching Dr. Phil analyze a young man who is, to put it in psychiatric terms, batshit crazy. Nutty as a fruitcake. As crazy as a shithouse rat.

I rarely watch television. In fact, the few times I have was when Rick and Kirk were visiting. Anyway, by the time I got to bed it was 2:30 in the morning. I woke up at 9 to take my morning meds, and lay back down and managed to sleep until 10:30 or so. After a leisurely breakfast (leisurely because I was so tired it took me a couple of hours to get around to it), I went back to bed around 2:00…

…and immediately had so many ideas and topics running around my brain that I had to get up and start writing. As I write this, it’s 4:00 pm and I’ve already posted on two of my other blogs.

This, I believe, is the hallmark of a true writer, as opposed to a hack: when you have to write something that it keeps you from doing anything else until you get it down, whether on paper or as pixels on the screen. The need—not just the desire, but the raw, urgent need—to say what you have to say before you can finally feel able to turn to other pursuits.

Writers on Writing

My Pinterest board has over 200 quotes from writers about writing. From the simplest statement (A writer writes) to the most esoteric (Don’t just write—BE a writer), some of the biggest names in literature have shared their insights on just how to write.

After reading and studying them, hoping for some magic, become-a-writer-overnight scheme, this is what I have come away with:

Nobody else can tell you how to write.

Whether it’s Ernest Hemingway, who is often miscredited with the “It’s easy to write; all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” to Evelyn Waugh, who is reputed to have insisted on writing whilst wearing a three-piece suit, I’ve come to realize that when writers offer tips to other writers, they’re not spouting so deep, eternal truth; rather they’re describing what works for them! Nothing more, nothing less.

Pretty simple, yes? But here’s the catch: I’ve been writing off and on for the past 50 years, and it only took me until now, June of 2018, to understand this “simple” idea.

There’s No One Way to do It

Something else I’ve learned is that even for me there is no  one-size-fits-all approach. What works one day might not work the next. Sometimes I’ll sit down and dash off a few lines, paragraphs, or even pages without stopping, then go back and read and correct what I’ve just written. Other times I can’t move onto the next sentence until I’ve written and rewritten the current one until it is perfect.

Most days I know what I want to say. Other days I pull up a blank page and stare it it, chain smoking cigarette after cigarette (only figuratively—I switched to a vaper a long time ago) until I begin to get the ghost, the hazy idea of what I want to say.

The One True Thing

My own One True Thing is based on a quote from Hemingway:

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.

This is what keeps me going when I don’t want to write. I write one true sentence, and it goes from there.

In Closing I’d Like to Say

This is what works for me. Your mileage may vary. Find what works for you, and stick to it.

And be sure to check out my Standard Disclaimer.

Thanks for reading.