Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hands-free Headset

As of July 1, 2008 it is illegal in California to drive while talking on a cell phone without the use of a hands-free headset or hands-free speaker phone (texting, ironically, is not illegal, but that is a topic for another day).

A few weeks ago I was headed somewhere in the car and was late. Ordinarily I would just pick up the phone and call, even though I wasn't very far away, since I didn't want the person to worry. But I couldn't do that; I needed to use my hands-free set.

Some people have spiffy wireless devices that they wear in the car to speak on their cell phones. I don't. I have the old wired earpiece that came with my phone.

I fished through my purse as I drove, trying to find the "hands-free" cord. Searching through my purse is a two-handed affair. I waited until I was at a stoplight. When I found the cord and pulled it out it was tangled up on itself.

I should really get a rubber band for this, I thought.

No, another voice said, You should really get a wireless headset.

No money, the first voice thought.

Traffic started moving and I tried to get the hands-free cord plugged into my phone. It's not like the charger, where you can just aim in the general direction of the hole and it'll go in. No. The hands-free headset cord must be precisely positioned. I don't know how I did that without crashing, but I did. I'm a talented person.

The next step in making a call from my hands-free headset (which is much safer than holding the phone while you drive, by the way) was to put the earpiece in my ear. I dislike headphones that go in my ears because they don't like to stay there, but I had no choice in the matter. I gouged the soft fuzzy foam into my ear and somehow made it stay.

Then came the clip. I've never really figured out where the clip is supposed to go. If I want the microphone to be near my mouth, ideally the clip would clip onto my nose or my glasses or something. Hey, that might actually be a good idea. Hmm... Anyway, I usually clip it onto my shirt or dress or whatever, opposite the ear in which the earpiece sits (or opposite the ear from which the earpiece falls).

The earpiece was in. The clip was attached. The hands-free headset was ready to go. All I had to do was dial. But in the amount of time it had taken me to put it all together, I'd arrived at my destination.

Now, I agree that driving while talking on the cell phone is dangerous. I also agree, however, that driving while shaving, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, talking to friends, eating, or transporting children is equally dangerous. In fact, I would argue that the most distracted I have ever been as a driver is when I was trying to deal with two small boys in the back seat. That was far more distracting than any phone call I've taken while driving, but I doubt they'll be banning children from the car anytime soon.

The issue at hand is not actually talking on the cell phone, it's keeping driving as the main focus. If it's not a good time to take a call, don't answer the phone. If you need to stop talking for a minute to pay closer attention to driving, stop talking. But I understand that not everybody has the willpower to do this.

So what is the point of this blog? It is to say that I now plug in my phone before starting to drive. It's safer that way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


There are very few things in this life that I hate. Earthquakes are one of those things.

Mother Edit always said that if you hate something it's only because you don't understand it. I don't really want to understand earthquakes any better and so maybe that's true, but for now I am willing to openly admit that yes, I hate earthquakes.

What I hate most is not knowing if the first earthquake was the big one, or if it was only the prologue, like the overture to an opera. Either way it is unnerving, and unpleasant (the earthquake, not the opera).

Luckily, it did no damage--it wasn't that big here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Had An iPhone in 2001

Well, technically it wasn't an iPhone, but the principle was the same. I bought a Handspring, and they said if I signed up for a phone plan, I could get the phone attachment for free. I'd avoided buying a cell phone up to that point because I knew that once I had a cell phone, I could never not have one; but I figured if it was free (a $200 savings!!!) and if I'd been wanting it for a long time, why not?

It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. It was basically an iPhone, though obviously not as fancy: it had a black and white screen and no mp3 function (and a bunch of other stuff), but it was both a PDA and phone in one, and it had a little switch you could push to change the ring tone without bothering with any buttons.*

When the antenna broke off and it was going to be as much to replace it as to buy a new phone, I decided to get a phone phone, not a Handspring phone, since the reception was actually pretty terrible (despite its coolness). Since then, I have missed the convenience of all my programs and phone books and whatnot in one single handheld device. But now, the time has come. I can have an iPhone, and it will be even better than that first all-in-one device. All I have to do is come up with a couple hundred bucks. Blast these minor details...

*For a better comparison and photos of the two, see this blog entry.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

People On The Street

As we exited the train station in Chicago, people on the street started handing us free sample pouches of Ibuprofen.

"Oh my gosh," I said to my family, "they're handing out drugs on the street."

It was supposed to be funny, but I don't think anyone heard me. I didn't take any Ibuprofen. I keep some in my purse, and I didn't want to talk to the people or figure out what they were selling or why they were handing out free pain relief.

Throughout the day we also encountered various people who were somehow connected with Barack Obama's presidential campaign. "Would you like to help Obama?" they asked as we passed, trying to hand off some sort of pamphlet. To me, whether or not I want to help Obama is beside the point. I don't like people accosting me on the street.

To the first person who asked me this question I replied, "Sorry, I don't have time today," and kept walking. As we approached the art museum, however, I saw another Obama salesman getting ready to pounce.

What if we weren't even American? I thought. What if we were Russian or something? Then what would he do? He couldn't do anything.

"Would you like to help Obama?" the man asked.

"Sorry, we're Canadian," I lied.

My family was surprised at my response (because I'm normally very saintly and never tell a lie, of course), but it allowed us to all walk by the man without being bothered, which was my intent. I did feel bad for a little while... but it was a lot more fun than just saying no.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Broken Things

In order to fix a broken entity, you cannot use the same component as that which broke in the first place; you must replace the broken part with something different, something stronger--something new.

The Humiliation: A Photo

Okay, here you go:

Let it be known that the bandanna was so positioned when we received him back from the groomers--we do not put bandannas on our cats here at the Edit household.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lessons Learned This Week

It is much easier to bring a cat to a groomer in order to have his massively thick fur shaved, than to try to do it yourself.

It is much better to realize this fact before spending an hour trying to shave your cat.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Ped Egg

I recently came into possession of a Ped Egg. No, I did not buy it myself, but yes, I now own one.

The Ped Egg makes me laugh. The great things advertised about the Ped Egg are these:

1. Over 100 precision micro-files that gently remove callouses and dead skin!

2. Two high quality emery buffing pads are included!

3. Ergonomically designed with a unique egg shape!

4. A storage compartment collects all the skin shavings so you can use it anywhere with no mess!

5. Stainless steel blades are safe to touch!

My reaction:

1. It's a cheese grater. Well, maybe more like a lemon zester. But not as sharp.

2. Like sandpaper!

3. I can't deny that I find the ovoid shape somewhat appealing, but it doesn't really make it more ergonomic. You still have to grip the edges, and there's no groove or handle to hang on to. If your hands were slippery, the Ped Egg would still be just as difficult to grip as a non-ergonomically-shaped dead-heel-skin zester. And an egg shape is not all that unique--eggs are shaped the same way.

4. Okay, I'll admit, I liked that. Not that I've ever actually zested my heels before, but I imagine if I were in the practice of zesting my heels, I would have been displeased by all the piles of dead skin heaped about me at the end of my zesting session.

5. I'm sure I could find a way to make them unsafe.

Really though, I love my Ped Egg. It's a such a cute little* skin-zester, and with the Ped Egg you don't have to explain to guests why there is a lemon zester sitting on your bathroom counter. Thanks for the Ped Egg, unicorn girl!

*I really did just type "cute little". I once had a Young Women leader who used that term frequently. Once, I counted on my fingers how many times she said "cute little" while making an announcement. It was a long announcement, granted, but I have ten fingers. I used them all, plus some toes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Bad Thing About Going To Utah: Conclusion

The bad thing about going to Utah, as I stated earlier, is that then I realize how much I miss it and want to live there. And then I make what others might call a crazy decision and feel strongly that it's right, while at the same time not understanding how it can possibly work.

Where will Betty live after the first month? I don't know.

What will Betty do for a job? I don't know.

How will Betty get around? I don't know.

Will Betty do it? Yes, she will!

That's pretty much all I know.

I'm choosing to call this faith.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Up as an adverb

Today I saw a bumper sticker that said "Cowgirl up!" and I thought how strange it is that we use the word up as an adverb, or sometimes as part of a verb. I wonder if there's any significance to that.

blow up
clean up
cough up
cozy up
do up
draw up
dress up
eat up
fed up
'fess up
fix up
get up
give up
hush up
inch up
jack up
look up
mess up
muck up
open up
pony up
run up
set up
shake up
shut up
sit up
slip up
snuggle up
stand up
tear up
throw up
touch up
wake up

There are probably a million more examples, but those are the first ones that came to mind.

I've noticed that when I tilt my head back and look up at the sky and try to walk in a straight line I can't do it. I just fall over.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Olive said this should be a blog entry, so thus it is:If I were in elementary school with Kandinsky, I would not like him.

I recently visited the Art Institute of Chicago. In particular, I spent half an hour with the Kandinskys, as Kandinsky happens to be one of my favorite artists. However, I also noticed a couple things which lead me to believe that had I known Kandinsky as a child, I would have sneered at his artistic talents.

First of all, he doesn’t cover the entire canvas. It actually looked like in his earlier paintings he did, so maybe as a child he would have done so; I like to cover the entire surface of my art (if you can call anything I have done art; certainly I have never used a canvas), with no naked dead space, and no little places where the base material showed through. Kandinsky didn’t leave a whole lot of space uncovered, just little tiny spots here and there between lines or shapes and the space around them. But still, it’s enough that I can tell close up.

Secondly, he didn’t make lines with a solid edge. When I use a paintbrush, I like my brushstroke to have a good firm edge—I hate that part at the end of the brushstroke where you run out of paint and it streaks into eventual nothingness. Such a stroke equals sloppiness in my mind. But Kandinsky is full of brushstrokes like that, and it doesn’t bother me now, but it would have done so years ago. Maybe I am not very artistic in that sense.

Third, well… actually, there is no third. When I was little I drew concrete images that were outlined in black. That sounds remarkably like a coloring book, come to think of it. I wonder if my childhood expectations would be different if I had not used such coloring books; in other words, I wonder if we are stunting our children by giving them such “artwork” to color. I would tend to say yes, except that I ended up liking Kandinsky anyway, so maybe it has more to do with individual personalities than with societal standards.

Conclusion: I love Kandinsky, even if I wouldn’t have liked him when we were both kids. And someday I would like to see this piece. Wow.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Once I read Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson, which makes frequent mention of Emily Dickinson's well-known poem. The book makes use of mostly just the first two lines, but here is the whole poem for those who dislike incomplete poetry:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

The book was okay. It didn't really have a plot, which makes it more difficult for me to enjoy, but oh well. I stayed up very late to finish it anyway, since that's what I do when I read. The interesting part came the next morning, when I woke up and went outside to find...


All over the driveway.

At first I didn't remember that I had read that book the previous night. I only thought of the cats, and wondered which cat had done it--Big Orange Fluffy or some other neighborhood cat (since Anya would be far out of her realm catching birds).

The feathers were scattered across the lawn and driveway, caught in the plants, blown onto the roof, and there was a cluster of them near the planter. Oddly enough, there was no other sign of a dead bird, and judging by the large amount of feathers, I felt pretty safe in assuming the bird was, in fact, dead. I thought it strange that the cat should do such a thorough job (I learned later that the bird had been taken care of before I went outside).

As I stared at the strange puffy disease-ridden feathers I remembered the book I'd read, and the two lines that were repeated so frequently: "Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul."

I didn't think it was a sign. But I did think it was ironic: my cat killed the thing with feathers.