Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

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.


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”—Albert Einstein

“But she has so much potential!” was the rallying cry my teachers used with my parents. “We just don’t understand why she’s not living up to it.”

And so began my first year in junior high, back in the olden days before middle school was even a concept. 7th and 8th grades. The good old days of assigning classes based on gender rather than a student’s interests. To this day I maintain that at some point before graduation, students should be required to take classes in what we used to call home economics and basic automotive mechanics.

I don’t understand turning students out into the world when they don’t know how to sew a button onto a shirt, or how to change a flat tire.

But that’s the way it was in the early 1960s. Girls took Home Ec and boys took Shop.

Oh, I knew I had potential; I didn’t need to be told that by someone who wasn’t as smart as I was. Because I was left alone in a guidance counselor’s office just long enough to look through the folder containing ME and seeing what my IQ was, I had written proof that I was smarter than most of my fellow students and probably most of my teachers as well.

I still couldn’t change a flat tire, or tell you the difference between 0 and 0000 grit sandpaper, but I could boil the hell out of a quart of water!

Potential don’t mean fuck-all when you’re bored by all of your classes.
High school was even worse. With the exception of two years of Spanish and a semester of Texas History, I didn’t learn anything I hadn’t already known in junior high. So yeah, I was bored to tears.

I was a student with a measured IQ above 160 and I was expected to do well in classes that were geared more towards the future farmers, ranchers, and homemakers than they were towards students who were planning on going on to universities or colleges.

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school/It’s a wonderful I can think at all.”
Paul Simon could just as easily written those lines about me as he did for himself.

But then, suddenly, COLLEGE!

And the complete opposite of high school. It was taken for granted that you knew certain things, had taken specific classes to prepare you for “the real world.” After four years of bluffing my way through classes, I was expected to actually do stuff!

I was finally in a world where I was expected to perform. To achieve results. And here I was, a person with no study habits. I hadn’t needed to develop any, because I had always been able to ace all of my classes without so much as opening a text book.

I felt as if I was a fish trying to climb a tree. Stupid.

Needless to say, my budding college career ended at the end of my freshman year. My parents weren’t about to keep shelling out money for a D student.

I still only have an Associates degree. No matter how many times I’ve tried, I still don’t fit the college mold.

If only I had been able to take Wood Shop in high school. But I was smarter than that.

I had potential.

Consider this an experiment. I’m creating this document in Scrivener, then I’m going to copy/paste it into Medium and see if it retains my formatting.

The Problem

Do I rely on technology too much? Right, I know this is a strange forum for discussing technology, when one considers that without technology this forum wouldn’t even exist.

But here’s my problem:

I access Medium—at varying times of thee day and depending on my location and mood—either by my laptop, my iPhone, or my IPad. I find my laptop gives me better control over formatting—not to mention a greater source of images—than the other two options. But I don’t usually use the laptop until I’ve been up and functioning for a few hours. Instead, my default device is my iPhone. Yes, it’s easier to type on the iPad’s larger keyboard, my my iPad is a few generations old, and is rather slow. And I get impatient as I wait for my tea water to boil so I can brew my first cup of soothing, calming tea.

So the iPhone it is. It’s much newer than the iPad—it’s a 6S Plus that’s a little over a year old, so it still is fast enough—and it handles the latest updates to iOS without blinking. But I’m really unhappy with the lack of formatting options on the iPhone through the Medium app. And I’m not above admitting that it may very well be the ID Ten T at the keyboard. (Write it down and you’ll see it becomes ID10T.)

Enter Scrivener

 
I’ve been using Scrivener for well over a year now, and I’ve never bothered to truly delve into all of its secrets and wonders. Rather than using it to compose my writing—mostly blog posts—I create and edit everything in Open Live Writer, then copying them to Scrivener, which serves as an archive. But I’ve recently decided to get my money’s worth out of Scrivener and use it as it was mean to be used: to create, edit, and save one’s writings.

So this is the first test. As I said, I’m doing everything in Scrivener, then I’ll see how well it it transfers into Medium.

Well, THAT sucked. A simple copy/paste lost all of my formatting. And no, a Google search didn’t yield a Medium-specific editor.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

I’ll keep you posted.