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The Case of the Missing Camera Card

IMG_0222.jpgYou see this camera. For a couple of years now, it has belonged to me. It’s a great camera that takes wonderful pictures . . .

…………………..unless the operator (think me) neglects to insert the card into the little designated slot. If that dreaded situation happens, when the holder of the camera (think me) lifts the beloved to take a wonderful picture such as that below, a little signal shows in the viewer that indicates a missing card. Alas. Alas.

DSC_2900This morning I stood on the banks of Lake Gregory, where a few days ago, I had snapped this shot, also of Lake Gregory, but on the opposite side. I have a new lens–85mm 1.8–that had given me this exceptional photograph.The light was gorgeous. I was excited thinking I would get another spectacular shot . . .Again, alas, alas, for my beloved Nikon had no card. Helpless.


I finished out the walk with Winston, urged him into the car, with the resolve that I would drive the very short distance to our home, find the card, insert it, then return to the lake quickly before the light changed drastically.

The card was nowhere to be found. I had warned myself of this happening many times, for too often after taking the card from the camera, inserting it into my Mac to transfer the images, then removing it from the Mac, I lay it down on the arm of the couch, as I eagerly check out the photos I’ve loaded into Lightroom. Sickening. I just could not find it.

Off came the cushions of the couch and the cushions of two chairs. Nothing. Well, nothing that thrilled me too much. Only bobby pins of varying styles, ballpoint pens, dust balls, a large paper clip and small portions of doggie treats. (Winston has a propensity for saving his treats from time to time. Never know when a famine might arise, must be his thinking.) Did Winston find it and snag it as a chew toy? I ran my fingers under the edge of the couch, Jerry tipped it up so I could see behind it (too heavy for us to move.) Finally I gave up. “We’ll have to run by Best Buy on our way to the graduation tonight,” I told Jerry.

DSC_2954My mind would not shut down, though. I had a faint memory of taking the card out yesterday in an unusual place. What did I wear then? Grey skirt, red sweater . . .with pockets. Surely I would not stick that card in a pocket. Would I? I rushed to the closet, pushed my hand down in the pocket of the cardigan sweater, felt something thin . . .Voila. There it was!

Herein lies a couple of important messages. To you photographers who use cameras such as mine, no matter how beloved is your little treasure, it will not work without the card. Believe me, it is disconcerting to stand with a vision in front of you, with magnificent light falling on the scene, to lift the camera to your eye, and see a symbol of a camera card with a black slash drawn through it. The second lesson applies to all of you (and especially to me): Store things where they belong. Now. Always. Without fail.

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Jerry’s Unbelievably Tough Verizon Samsung

I sprayed laundry spotter on the trousers, threw them into the washer, and ran it full of cold water. The next morning, I spun that water off, and at the end of that cycle removed Jerry’s trousers. There in the bottom of the washer was his phone, Verizon Samsung old school flip top. It had soaked all night in water, and now I had just spun it dry.

untitled (6 of 8)

From what I hear, Jerry is unusual in that he does not leave anything in the pockets of his clothes that need to be laundered. I never check his pockets. Mine? Those I always check, for I’m bad about leaving things in them. But he failed this one time, and now I had no doubt ruined his phone.

“Well, we’ll take the battery out,” Jerry untitled (3 of 8)said when I showed him the dripping phone, “and place the battery and the phone over the furnace vent.” We did that, then I recalled reading of placing water-besotted items in a untitled (1 of 8)bag of rice, so I dragged out a sack of rice and immersed the phone into its depths.

The next day, Jerry reassembled the phone, switched it on, and voila! the word VERIZON spread its beautiful self across the little screen. For a few days, water drops appeared under the glass, but finally they disappeared, and from the time that little Verizon baby has been turned back on, until this very moment, it works perfectly! Kudos to Verizon, to Samsung, and to all things old and tough.

untitled (7 of 8)Somewhere in a drawer in this house is a smart phone–a Blackberry. Jerry had quite an experience with it which I post about here. The original post of Jerry and the Blackberry has received more than 80,000 hits. You’ll probably want to take a look. 🙂  I also have written about changes in telephone services since I was a child here and in this one titled Number Please. You might get a kick out of them.

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The Computer and I

They called me a bookworm–always have your head in a book–when I was a child, and I suppose I was, for I adored the library over on Central Street, and I recall many days as I walked home from school that I read as I walked down the sidewalk. I walked carefully, slowly, lifting an eye occasionally to avoid stepping off a curb unexpectedly or stumbling over a crack in the sidewalk. At other times, I read in the car, on the school bus, on the city bus, and at night after my dad made us go to bed, by beams from a flashlight, under the cover.

My parents taught me to read the Bible, and at youth group sessions, when we had “sword drills,” I was the fastest to find the called-out reference, because I was a reader. My sister and I were fascinated by tales we read in fairy books, and as we washed and dried the dishes from our evening meal, untitled (8 of 8)we acted them out, and then we made up our own stories. I don’t think I wrote any of them down, but if I could read them now I would probably see they strongly resemble something I had previously read. Every year from the school library, I checked out The Boxcar Children, and all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and that biographical series of Great Americans–orange and green colored, they were. One of our neighbors had every one of the Hardy Boys and the Nancy Drew books and she let me read all of them.

As I grew older I read newspapers and magazines and learned of such a fabulous thing as a thesaurus. And now, I read the computer. Oh, I still read books and magazines and newspapers, but there is nothing quite like a computer. I read the news, gossip, weather prognosticators, untitled (6 of 8)events taking place here in my mountains, church news, live streaming of church services, YouTube, concerts, hear from some of my kids and some of my friends, learn things, study how to write books, load my digital pictures from my camera, process them with Lightroom, study photography and understand how hard it is, write articles, write books, edit my novel The Soul of Abram Clark, learn about publishing and agents and fuss about in forums, and find recipes. I keep track of our personal banking. I “talk” to people around the world, post pictures for friends and am encouraged by sweet remarks from friends on Facebook, and hope to encourage them a bit. I make travel reservations, pull up our tax bill when I don’t receive a paper one, utilize Mapquest, and just yesterday I found the location of the nearest Subway to the Lighthouse Theatre in Redlands, then emailed the address to Holly and to Rebecca, for we will snack there on Saturday before we attend a performance of Miracle on 34th Street. And get this–right down at the bottom of my sweet Apple is a thesaurus. Amazing thing. I tweet. I blog. I learn of life . . . and I learn of death.

I suspect I am still a bookworm, and sometimes people say, “Shirley, I don’t know how you can stare at that screen so much.” Sometimes I hide, although it’s a bit harder with a computer than with a book and a flashlight.


How about you? Are you a bookworm? Your face always stuck in a screen or a book or in a Kindle? I’d like to hear from you.

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Kickin’! Not kickin’ back, KICKING.

Kicking against inertia and laziness; against ease of being;  against ease of doing; against mediocrity and the uninspired. Such kicking involves not only my less than skinny legs (or, come now, would it not be more than skinny?) anyway, this kicking business with which I’m lately involved takes place little in the knee and shin areas, rather, well above the shoulder vicinity. I’ve loaded a new piece of software onto my computer, and am up to my skull bone in the learning curve that comes with the box and the enclosed thin circular disc, although none of the sales pitch goes within speaking distance of telling the degree of learning curve.  Lightroom is the name of that to which I have directed my thinking prowess over the past couple of days, and whose intricacies of discovery and execution are quite guaranteed to process the images from my D7000 into splendid works of art.

It’s a good thing to kick. A couple of days ago I spoke with someone who has extensive physical challenges, remarking that when she felt better, we would do such and such.

No, I don’t want to wait,” she responded.”I’ve got to push myself.”

Yep, kicking is good, sharpens us, gets us out of funks, helps us ignore our twinges and gnawings, and along with the thrust of the kick, we just might learn a thing or two, and that’s generally considered a fine thing.

While I consider myself quite patient with people, I know I am quite impatient with things, and if they’re not working right, it irritates me. I’m not good at replacing vacuum cleaner bags, thread tangles when I sew buttons on, and I’ve never hemmed a pair of trousers yet in which both legs came out even. So, imagine me with a computer. Now, I love computers, am amazed at them, and can’t imagine life without one. But I don’t want to dink around with them when they’re not working right. I just want to sit down in my place, open up my laptop, and have everything working perfectly.

. . . which leads me to installation and understanding of Lightroom 3. My version was 3.2 and in browsing in Lightroom forums, I read of several people who had upgraded to 3.6 and were screaming with frustration. “I’m tempted to unload this version and go back to version 3,” one of them yelped. “Has slowed my computer down so that I can hardly use it.”

Right there, I decided version 3.2 was fine for me and I would not be upgrading . . .yet when I installed mine, a message came up to say that 3.6 was now available. Not for me, I muttered to myself. . . until I loaded my first pictures on . . . and a little memo sweetly informed me that my camera’s raw images required the 3.6 version. I gulped, asked for the update, watched it load, and voila! it works perfectly. The program is much more complicated than the simple iphoto program I have been using, but also has greater capabilities for processing images. I’ve finished a few photographs on my new program, and have brought a couple over for you to see.

So yes! It’s good to kick, to expand, to stretch, to challenge ourselves. On the other hand, Jerry and I were talking this morning and agreed there do come times when we must admit something is beyond us. Whether because of advancing age, physical conditions, or even our mental capacity, there is a time to say, I just can’t do that. But, that’s another subject for another day.

This treatment is from Delicious Free Presets. Cool, huh.

Jerry and I were walking around the lake on Tuesday when we met a gentleman with this magnificent animal.

It has been unseasonably warm here so that yesterday and today Jerry worked extensively in the yard. Yesterday, from our side garden, he brought in this beautiful rose. The picture is posted on my Flickr account, and if you go over there and view it large, you may see the light sparkles in the tiny raindrops.

Keep kickin!

EDIT 1/10/12  Wouldn’t you know it! LightRoom just announced today its releasing of Beta LightRoom 4.0

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An Apple Story

My heart sank when it froze, then my screen went black, and in the morning, after a fitful night of hard-drive-crashing-thoughts-of thousands of “un-backed-up” photographs, my faithful Apple MacBook would not boot.

“I’ll have to take it in to the Apple Store,”  I told Jerry, and so around 11:00 we headed down the hill and into the city of Rancho Cucamonga,  about a 45 minute drive from Crestline. The Apple Store is in the beautiful “cutting-edge” outside mall named Victoria Gardens.

He smiled widely, did the young man who greeted us at the door. I spoke of the freeze-up and the black screen when he inquired of our needs. “My computer is sick. I need someone to look at it.”

“Hmm. Could be bad. But don’t worry, we have excellent techs, and we’ll see what we can do.” I hadn’t made an appointment, so he left me for a minute to see if he could work me in, returning quickly, smiling ever, saying someone could help me in about half an hour.

Mark was the tech to whom I was directed when it was my turn back at the Genius Bar, and after he asked, I told him how my computer had happened to go down.

A few days before the problem, a message had come on my screen saying my start-up disc was nearly full. I learned this referred to my hard-drive, so I bought an external drive with the thought of transferring my more than 8000 pictures there, thus creating more space on my internal system. However, when I tried to connect it to my computer, I ran into some problems, and decided I would, the next day, get someone to help me with it. In the meantime, I began discarding expendable picture files, in that way reducing the stress on my hard drive. As I did so, my computer froze, then the screen went black.

As I was telling this to Mark, he turned on my computer, and voila! it booted.

Bottom line: The computer had not crashed, but being so close to full had shut down and just couldn’t co-operate.

Second bottom line: Mark took the external drive I had brought, and using his fast system began transferring my pictures. “It’s going to take hours,” he told me. “You may either hang out here or leave and we’ll call you when it’s ready.”

I gave him my cell number. Jerry and I left to do some shopping, winding up a couple hours later at The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. As we finished our meal, my phone rang and it was an Apple Person saying my computer was ready.

The friendly young man at the door remembered my name, and someone took me right to the Genius Bar, bypassing the line that was now there. “It’s finished,” Mark said, and he and another young man brought it out, and we went over the method for using the hard drive for all my pictures, and what to do when I traveled without the hard drive.

The cords were wrapped up, my computer and the hard drive were in my case. Mark smiled. I looked about for the cash register, and seeing none asked, “Do I pay you?”

“Oh, there’s no charge, Shirley. That’s the privilege of being an Apple owner. You never pay for tech support. No one is ever charged for service at the Genius Bar.”

I was stunned. Stammered about a bit, patted Mark on the hand, thanked him profusely and went out the door and to the car where Jerry waited. “Guess how much it cost,” I said immediately on seating myself, trying to make my face grim and ominous.

“I don’t know, Shirley. How much?”

He was as stunned when I told him as I had been, and at that moment I decided to write about this incident. For I think most of you will agree that too often these days, the service we receive from many business places is abysmal, and the charges we incur are exorbitant.

Not so with Apple. And besides that, the stores are bustling with friendly people who are eager to help you, you can dink around with any of the computers, there are little tables and chairs with computers for toddlers, they treat you with dignity even if you are as barely geeky as am I, and they remember your name. At least that is so with the Apple Store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I highly recommend it.

Tell them Shirley sent you. 🙂

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Sorry…I Missed The Birthday

Wednesday was the day I missed the birthday. The Internet turned 40 years old and I didn’t find out about the celebration until yesterday. I, of all people, one who loves the internet so much and who uses it daily. The least I could have done was throw a small (or large) party and bake a cake (or at least a cookie or two.) We should have shared party hats and “Pin the Tail” games…or something like that.

I cannot remember when I first learned of the internet, or when I first used it, but today, I tell you, I cannot image life without it. I communicate with people all over the world, I read the news, I stroll through libraries, I laugh at funny pictures on YouTube, and watch dynamic speeches and powerful sermons, I market my books (to all three of you who eagerly await every word I utter), 800px-blue_candles_on_birthday_cakeI pay bills, I check my bank balance, I talk to my kids and my grandkids, I show off my pictures, and people tell me how wonderful they are, and a few honest ones say something like rather pitiful–surely you can do better, Helen tussles with me, I meet old friends on Facebook, and make some new ones, (some of whom have become so dear that I am making plans to meet them in person, and, actually, I have already met one in person), I advertise our church, and blog, and see articles published that I have written, see pictures of my friends and their babies, and quite old pictures where our hair and clothes look really funny, get prayer requests and praise reports from our church headquarters, and find out how hot it will be today in Lake Havasu or how cold in Crestline, and what the dewpoint is, and make airline reservations, and drool over cruise itineraries and find words to songs and learn ingredients for recipes, and check the spelling of words and the location of Scripture…and…

It happened forty years ago when some smart men at UCLA taught two computers to talk with each other, thus beginning this world wide web we call the internet. I for one am extremely glad they did, and belated though it is, I wish the internet a very happy birthday and many happy returns.

You might want to check this link for a Computer World article where there are more details about the birth of the internet.

How about you? Did you wish the internet a happy birthday? Do you like the internet? Do you wish it many more healthy years?…or do you believe its dangers exceed its profitability?

Picture courtesy of Google images

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Technical Guffaws and (Heaven Forbid) Cussin’

With my little white Macbook in hand, I sat on the couch this morning and roared with laughter as I read from this site. It dramatically reminded me of the hilarious piece I previously wrote about our computer problems and what I came to refer to as “Jerry and his sweet India girls.” It’s a hoot, I promise.

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”
— Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

From Computer Stupidities

The following is a large collection of stories and anecdotes about clueless computer users. It’s a baffling phenomenon that in today’s society an individual, who might in other circumstances be considered smart and wise, can sit down in front of a computer screen and instantly lose every last shred of common sense he ever possessed. Complicate this phenomenon with a case of “computerphobia,” and you end up with tech support personnel having phone conversations that are funny in retrospect but seem like perfectly valid motives for wild machine gun shooting sprees at the time. You will read stories in this file that will convince you that among the human race are human-shaped artichokes futilely attempting to break the highly regarded social convention that vegetables should not operate electronic equipment. And yet, amidst the vast, surging quantities of stupidity are perfectly excusable technological mishaps — but that are amusing nonetheless. After all, even the best of us engages in a little brainless folly every once in a while.

Most of these stories are true. Some happened to me personally. Some happened to friends of mine. Some are considered urban legends, but even most of these are more likely to have happened in some form or another than not. Skeptics look at such stories and doubt their truth. But reason, common sense, and experience tell me that if you sit someone who isn’t computer literate (even a smart someone) down in front of a computer, you’re bound to accrue anecdotes no less outrageous than these. You’d be surprised.

* Tech Support: “Type ‘fix’ with an ‘f’.”
* Customer: “Is that ‘f’ as in ‘fix’?”

* Customer: “How do you spell ‘Internet America’? Is there a space between ‘inter’ and ‘net’?”
* Tech Support: “No space between ‘inter’ and ‘net’. It’s spelled normally.”
* Customer: “Ok. A-M-E-R-I-C-K?”
* Tech Support: “That’s A-M-E-R-I-C-A.”
* Customer: “I-C-K???”
* Tech Support: “‘A’ as in apple”
* Customer: “There’s no ‘K’ in apple!”

* Customer: “I was printing something.”
* Tech Support: “From before you called?”
* Customer: “No, from Word.”

* Tech Support: “Where in the building is your printer located?”
* Customer: “Middle of my desk.”
* Tech Support: “If I have to give someone directions, where do I tell them to go?”
* Customer: “In the middle of my desk where I work.”

I wish you a happy day; free of computer viruses, worms, horses, and from less than savvy people. 🙂

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Internet Connection Problems

For several weeks now, we have experienced serious internet connection problems here at DJs RV park; hence the paucity of blog posts.

Today, came by a stray signal: voila! Two posts within a 30 minute period.

Thanks for your loyalty–for coming by and reading an old column or two. I’m hoping that correction of our problem here is possible.

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Native Americans of the Grand Canyon

We had eaten a small breakfast at the spacious, high-ceilinged cafeteria near our lodge, then had taken the Rim Trail and walked to the middle of the village. We paused now for a gentle swing on one of the porches of El Tovar Hotel and I set up my tripod so I could take a couple of pictures of Jerry and me. In the distance you see the Hopi House. After a fine lunch as we were leaving El Tovar we heard the tom tom tom of an Indian dance; we walked over and joined the gathered crowd.

The man whose ornaments you see here was the emcee and was announcing the dance a young man was about to perform. He talked leisurely, in a casual across-the-fence sort of way, going on and on about the dedication of the young people during the summer, their study of traditions and lore and Indian dances.

It was very hot, and finally the stone-faced young indian turned to the emcee and, expressionlessly, did a spinning motion with his arms.

Amusement was perceptible in the voice of the emcee as he said, “The floor is hot. He wants me to get on with the music.” He went on talking, though, about the rings and how the heat makes them so flexible it is hard to perform the maneuvers. It was an interesting interchange, although a little unnerving to me. I think that may have been so because Indians usually present such stoic faces and their performances seem exact and regimented and the man, who was also the drummer and the singer, seemed a bit uncaring of the young dancer.


The young man was quite talented and performed flawlessly, it seemed to me. Using the rings, he intertwined himself, then stepped smoothly out of them; he arranged designs and signals, all in perfect rhythm to the music that was being played.

Immediately on finishing his dance, the young man went to the side of the stage and grabbed a bottle of water. It was so hot, I assumed he would lift it to his mouth and guzzle it down. No, he sat down, poured the water in his hands and began rubbing it across the soles of his moccasins. His feet must have been blistered. 

The American Indian communities surrounding Grand Canyon actively maintain their ancient cultures and traditions. They have long been associated with exquisite but functional crafts which reflect their close ties with nature. Fine collectibles created by native artisans began to be marketed to outsiders in the 1880s through trading posts they erected. Within driving distance of the Grand Canyon are reservations of Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kaibab-Paiute and Navajo. It is a fascinating area of the country.

We just had time to breeze through the Hopi House before boarding our train, and when Jerry asked one of the clerks if the building was original, she explained much of their history and handed him a small card with this information on it.

“Hopi House constructed in 1905. Designed as living quarters for Hopi artisans and as a place to sell Hopi crafts and souvenirs, this building represents the efforts of the Fred Harvey Company to revive Southwest Indian arts and crafts. Designed by Mary Jane Colter, the building was modeled after part of the Hopi village at Third Mesa, in Oraibi. It retains much of its original appearance.”

We were ready to walk to the long flight of stairs that led to the train station when I spied a van that was tastefully lettered “Grand Canyon Railway.” Jerry asked, the driver said, “Sure,” we climbed in and within minutes had been discharged and were now mingled with the crowd awaiting the boarding call.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: I am experiencing significance computer challenges and consequently am not able to respond to your comments as I would like. Last Thursday, my sweet little Apple crashed. There is no certified tech here in Lake Havasu, so it’s either a trip to Las Vegas or Phoenix or California. We’re going there in ten days, so I’ll take the little hurting white machine to be repaired while we are “home.”

In the meantime I’m using Jerry’s Fujitsu which has an aversion to the internet connection at our motor home park and also, at times, refuses to type a y. I’m at the Lake Havasu library at the moment–Fujitsu likes it here and has allowed me to use its y all afternoon. 🙂

I do appreciate your comments and anticipate reading them. I promise to respond when I can.

Patience, please.



My devotional blog is here.

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World’s Youngest Billionarie

Speaking of youngsters…how about Mark Zuckerberg, who at 23 is the world’s youngest billionaire.

Like many other people his age, Mark Zuckerberg the founder of social networking site Facebook spends most of his day in front of a computer screen. But he is no ordinary 23-year-old he’s officially the world’s youngest US billionaire. Worth 1.5 billion dollars, the young man has made a debut in this years Forbes magazine’s list of the World’s Billionaires where he has secured the 785th rank.

Read more here. Maybe you’ll find enough info to join the billionaire club! Congratulations Mark.

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