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Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

Did YLL ever, in a million years, think that she would want a Kindle? No way, baby! YLL was smugly old-school, reading library books in bed, in the bathtub. Lugging multiple tote-bags with of reading on every vacation. At a conservative estimate YLL reads 250+ books a year, and buys maybe 4 or 5 of those. YLL buys the books that she loves, that that will be read over and over, and admired on neatly organized shelves. What need does YLL have for eBooks? Except, of course, that YLL needs to be able to explain to the library-using public how to work their technology.

So YLL learned how to make it work. The library got a Sony Reader and YLL taught herself the ins-and-out of using Overdrive (the company that manages digital collections for libraries) and eReaders. YLL didn’t hate it. YLL even read a Lee Child book in digital and it was fine, but YLL wasn’t a convert.

Then YLL decided to teach herself the Overdrive app for the iPod Touch. Up till then YLL used an iPod mainly for music and to watch TV in the bathtub (Crazy you say? Holding an iPod is WAY easier—and less stressful—than balancing a laptop on the edge of the tub, which is what YLL had been doing.)

YLL downloaded the app, then checked out some books, and it was easy. So. Very. Easy. YLL checked out more books, reading two per bath.  YLL read them in the middle of the night when struck with insomnia.  YLL didn’t even care that about the need to “turn” the page every 3 sentences. YLL was sold.  YLL started thinking about a Kindle.

YLL’s relationship with Amazon is problematic. They’re a big corporation, and YLL is a reactionary liberal. Amazon does shitty stuff, like making a christmastime app that lets you scan an isbn in a bricks & mortar bookstore and buy it from Amazon. Ick.  On the other hand they also are helping to break down the historic barriers to publication that authors face. Unlike many other retailers, they know that there really is money to be made in books. Especially if your model is big enough. When libraries first started acquiring digital collections and making them available for eReaders, Amazon flat out said “No way. We’re in the business of selling books, not lending them.” But here’s the thing. For a giant, evil, corporation, Amazon listens. They’re smart enough to know that you can’t piss off your customers too much, cause the loyalty your customers feel is about you giving them what they want.

So Amazon, bit the bullet and agreed that they would find a way to make library books work on the Kindle. And they way they found works really well. Maybe even better than the other eReaders, because it’s entirely wireless. And easy. And convenient. Just like pretty much any shopping experience through Amazon is—because they’re so frickin smart.

So YLL hemmed and hawed.  YLL debated (out loud, and at length, because that’s how she thinks) about buying herself a Kindle. And when Christmas came YLL’s partner ended the ongoing moral ambivalence by making a the decision YLL secretly want to make.

And YLL loves it. YLL had spent the past several months minimizing all the stuff of life (music goes digital, paper and photographs get scanned, unused things find a home where somebody will love them) YLL is realizing that even books aren’t sacred—there are some things that YLL will be more than happy to keep digitally rather than dedicate limited shelf space for. One of YLL’s favorite authors has just released a digital-only novella. YLL can buy it from directly from the author, who gets to keep all, not most of, the money. If this is how YLL shops for other stuff (the new Kindle case came from Etsy—handmade by a women running her own business—not from Amazon) why not books? A lon-local but direct economy made possible by digital purchase. YLL thinks it could be a thing.

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To-do list

YLL’s  to-do list seems to grow exponentially by the day.  This is, partly of course, due to the fact that YLL is a lazy bastard when not paid for labor. Frankly, no one is paying YLL to vacuum, clean, or garden (or blog for that matter) and so these tasks inevitably work their way down YLL’s  list of priorities–far below sitting on the deck with a cucumber Gin & Tonic or lounging around eating organic bacon and reading feminist blogs.

It’s really all about the motivation. If YLL can be convinced (hypnotism, mantras maybe?) that the  value of things such as a clean and tidy home, a beautiful outdoors to enjoy, painted radiators, etc. could be measured in actual dollar amounts that pesky to-do list could get torn through in no time.

The problem lies in that the value of lying in the sun with the dog, watching the birds at the feeder, catching up with the Netflix queue, and lounging about (with or without drinks) is all too easy to calculate as priceless.

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It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

Spring seems to be dawdling this year.  She lurks around the edges of these cold rainy days we’ve been having.  But somehow even the persistent cold and drizzle can’t overcome my body knowledge that this annual time of growth and change is upon me. The true beginning of the year is here with the season of hibernation and dormancy and loss behind us and it is time to begin anew.

Perhaps my birthday, coinciding with spring’s arrival,  is an additional pressure reminding me that time is passing, that the less life to be lived that lies ahead, the more precious it feels.  Some years I reject Spring’s call: I try nothing new, I seek no new knowledge, I plant no gardens, I choose to remain in Winter’s dormancy.

This year change seems unavoidable. Even as I wonder what form it may take, it’s seeping into the edges of my life just as the wind finds a steady way through the bricks and mortar and glass of my house.  My free time is spent researching, planning, dreaming in the hopes that I can harness and ride this change, rather than be driven before it.


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