Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Last night, just before nine o'clock, I was working on a web page and inserted a video that I had spent hours building on a photo website. It worked perfectly once, but the second time when I tried to preview it on the website, it wouldn't work. The code was there, but it disappeared when I tried to preview it. I struggled with it for an hour, gave up and went to bed. I agonized about it wondering what I did incorrectly. I woke up blaming myself for not knowing enough about the whole procedure to troubleshoot it. This morning, I thought of a half dozen possible reasons and tried to figure out the problem before calling tech support. I hate to give up in defeat and ask for help. My usual morning routine is to check on several websites and I discovered that two more videos from the same site were not working either. Did they expire? Was it being blocked somewhere in the process? Was there something new that the browser I was using had not updated to handle? I started checking other browsers. I work with three different browsers just to compare how each handles various applications. Was there a setting in any of the browsers that I had not managed correctly in order for this video to function correctly? But how would that explain the fact that it had worked correctly one time? Last thing I tried today was to go to the home of the video to check out the settings there. I found a message that the site would be unavailable from 9 p.m. yesterday to 9 a.m. today. The site had gone into hibernation, so to speak during the time I was working with it, but I didn't realize that at the time.

All that struggling to figure out what I had done wrong just to discover that I wasn't the problem. I hadn't done anything incorrectly. The problem existed elsewhere and would go away when the site had finished updating. What is it in some people that they are willing to take the blame when things go wrong and the last thing they consider is that they may not be the problem because the problem lies elsewhere? Even more interesting is why do some people never assume responsibility when things go wrong and blame everything or everyone other than themselves?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Made in U.S.A.

I have no objection to people in other countries making a living creating products and selling them to citizens in the U.S.A., if we had equity or balance in those trades which is questionable. However, I would also like to see more oversight to restore my confidence in the products I use. I'm not a fan of de-regulation.
As was discovered in A Year Without Made in China, it is hard to buy all products made in the U.S. I am less concerned about items that don't threaten my safety with their contents. Clothes, or other non-consumables are less objectionable. When we hear about lead or other harmful substances going into things ingested or put on the body, it tends to result in a loss of confidence in those products and to question the quality of those products. That is not to say that everything made in the U.S.A. is safe and things made elsewhere are not. I would like trustworthy disclosure on labels. I read labels and see "distributed in the U.S.A." by company XYZ. I look for "Made in the U.S.A." labels. When I see "Made in the U.S.A. with U.S. and non-U.S. components, the red flags go up. What are those non-U.S. components and from where? I know labels are tiny, but I would like to choose products that I hope are safe. If it said lead-based eye makeup from Timbuctoo, I wouldn't buy it. Therein lies the reason many products just say "Distributed in U.S.A. by Company XYZ. Truth in Labeling does not mean omit what producers don't want the consumer to know. Why should I have to guess what is in that skin cream that made my skin turn red? People have serious allergies that need complete Truth in Labeling.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Love "The Closer"

In 1961, Newton Minow said "television is a vast wasteland." It seems that little has changed since that time. I don't watch much on television, because even with Verizon's FIOS and hundreds of stations broadcasting, it is hard to find anything interesting to watch, especially in the middle of July. It isn't with desperation, but with admiration that I look forward to one show on television in July. The Closer begins its new season July 14 on TNT. All previous seasons are available on Netflix as well as other sites. It is an excellent, well-written program that isn't part of the vast wasteland. The focus is not on the crimes, but on solving the crimes. No nightmares in those murders. The plots are never boring but you don't have to watch serial murderers torturing people before killing them. The suspense holds the viewer, start to finish. It's about cops doing their jobs well. The cast of characters is a likeable group that amuses and entertains. They relate well to each other in the fictional work place. The long-suffering Fritz must have major feelings to put up with the mercurial Brenda and her dedication to her job. No one but Brenda can go from the syrupy "Thank you, so much" to "Put your hands over your head" at the speed of light. She is really, really good at her job and had to be to earn the grudging respect of her squad of men. Nevertheless, in the end, her addiction to chocolate is endearing. Pop the corn, gather the Hershey bars, Brenda is baaack!

Word Processors

I really like the word processor, Microsoft Office Word. I like to keep various documents stored in it while I work on several at the same time. I like to compose my thoughts with it, sometimes over a long period of time, then copy and paste text to my blogs or web pages. I'm not a big fan of HTML code so I really appreciate those folks who developed wysiwyg. However, I have learned enough about it to learn that Microsoft Office Word somehow inserts code that doesn't play well with others. When I copy and paste text from it, I get error messages that I haven't learned how to repair yet. My best solution, short of taking time to learn HTML code, is to just use another word processor. Maybe I should just use Notepad to avoid composing online. I hope some of the wizards out in cyberspace will solve that problem for the rest of us HTML-challenged folks.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I hesitate to call my enjoyment of shoes either a fetish or a mania, I just love shoes. It must be genetic and I’m no exception. Like most women, I have more shoes than one needs or can ever get around to wearing. Storing my favorites makes me envy the closets of Imelda Marcos. I used to have two requirements of shoes, pretty and affordable. I love that euphemism “affordable”. I bought the prettiest, cheapest shoes I could find with the philosophy that more was better since they would change styles quickly. I had never heard of Manolo Blahniks until the OJ trial hit TV. All women love beautiful shoes and no matter the cost, we buy as many as we can afford and sometimes more.

My parents took me shopping when I was four and the idea was to buy a practical pair of brown leather lace-up saddle shoes to wear with socks. I fell in love with a beautiful little pair of low-heeled, powder blue, leather flats that I wanted to wear without socks. We compromised and bought both pairs of shoes, but I had to wear socks with both pairs. I agreed, but soon “forgot” to wear the socks with the blue pumps which I was only allowed to wear to church on Sunday. The brown shoes were for school, or everything else. Since I was allowed to buy that pretty little pair of blue shoes when I was four years old, I have loved beautiful shoes.

After attending the latest movie known for its fashion focus, my friends and I had a lively discussion centered around, “Who wears stuff like that, except for a movie?” I was assured that people in New York dress like that. I suppose it has been longer than I remembered since I last visited New York, or maybe I didn’t cross paths with any “fashion conscious” people.

Over the years, I have made many unwise shoe purchases and learned that I don’t wear them anyway and I stopped buying the ones I know I won’t wear, no matter how beautiful they are. I used to buy shoes that were too small just because they were beautiful. I moved to shoes a size and a half larger and my feet are happier. After three foot surgeries, and Morton’s Neuroma, my requirements have evolved beyond beauty in a pair of shoes. I still require that they look acceptable and attractive, but I would drive a shoe designer crazy. I would love to have a long discussion with a shoe designer and explain what I require for my abused feet.

My number one requirement now is comfort, with a capital C. I haven’t given up on the idea that comfortable shoes can also be beautiful. I never bought into the “Frankenstein” look that was popular years ago. Combat boots aren’t in my closet either. I require that I be able to actually walk in shoes or even run without breaking a leg or getting blisters. I used to wear high heels every day to work, but I wore out my feet before the shoes. I like a reasonable heel on most shoes, but the stilettos only exist in my "high school, can't bear to throw it away" closet now. I don’t wear shoes with heels higher than two inches even in dress-up shoes. Shoes with pointed toes aren’t in my future, but they played a prominent role in my current foot problems.

I buy lots of sandals every summer and I wear sandals most of the summer. I love dressy sandals for night time, but even if they are backless, they have to have enough leather across the top of the foot that I can keep them on my feet even if I ran while wearing them. No flip flops for me. I require that my little toes have containment on the sides of the shoes and I wear no sandals with leather between my big toe and second toe. I love sandals with suede bottoms where the sole of my foot contacts the shoe. Anything else sticks to the bottom of my feet and makes sucking sounds when I walk. I love all leather sandals because leather behaves well after many wearings and it gets softer with foot oils. They don’t start to smell like feet either. Leather is a wonderful product in any form but I like to avoid man-made materials like plastics. I like cool feet and plastics make smelly, sweaty, hot feet. Many shoe designers have a clue and design wonderful sandals so when I find one, I buy several in different colors or several in the same color. Sandals stay in style longer than other types of shoes. It is hard to wear out a good pair of sandals, but I have managed to do just that. I’m still looking for the perfect little, beautiful pair of powder blue sandals to add to my closet. I still love little blue shoes.