DISMISSED

One of my greatest fears is telling someone who’s supposed to be there to help you about a problem and being blown off. I sometimes feel my troubles aren’t valid or important enough to bring up in the first place. Even when I know intellectually I need to speak up, it is hard for me. Being non-confrontational to the extent I am, making my needs known feels like confrontation. Aware of my difficulties, I screw up my courage to do what I have to do. The experience is seldom as bad in reality as in my anxiety imagines.

Once in a while, it is every bit as bad as I fear.

When something is hard for me to write about, I know it’s also important to write about it. So, here goes:

I had an appointment Friday with my primary care doctor. I had seen her only twice before, once for a new patient appointment (or please, doctor, refill my prescriptions) and for a pap smear/pelvic exam. I don’t like going to the doctor in large part for the reasons explained in the first paragraph, plus I wasn’t raised going to the doctor for every little complaint.

When I scheduled the appointment in question, I used the office’s online appointment system to leave a detailed note about the things I hoped to discuss. I’m better at explaining myself in writing. It was comforting to think the doctor might already have an idea of the symptoms and what I thought of them in light of my medical and family history.

The major catalyst for making an appointment was pain I’ve been experiencing in my right shoulder and, to a lesser extent, my elbow and wrist. It started a few weeks before Christmas. I’d been shaking it off, taking Motrin, and living from hot shower to hot shower. Now, I knew full well part of the problem was all the sewing projects I’d been working on. If I didn’t do anything for a couple days, it got better, but I mean laying off computer use and not being at work, too. Not practical. Even if medical science couldn’t do more than diagnosis the problem and tell me to continue taking inflammatory medications as needed, it hurt enough I wanted to know what is going on.

I had also been putting off doing something about my quality of sleep. I have sleep apnea. Getting diagnosed and bring home a CPAP machine in early 2009 changed my life. I never imagined it was possible to wake up refreshed. Based on snoring, we can assuming I’ve had apnea since I was a child. I can remember being fatigued in middle school. I suffered migraines. Lately, I’ve been tired after a full night sleep and waking up with headaches far too often. It’s time for new equipment or, my preference, following up with an ear, nose, throat doctor as recommended in my original sleep study reports to check for physical obstructions. At my first appointment with my current doctor, she commented on my large tonsils and she was not the first medical professional to take note of them. If it is possible getting my tonsils removed could resolve my apnea, surgery is a no brainer, but I need a referral to the appropriate medical professional.

I told my story about the shoulder, elbow, and wrist to the nurse and then the doctor. I explained I was concerned by my family history of osteoarthritis with likely connection to dwarfism in our direct familial line. My mother had both of her hips replaced at forty-seven years old. Every joint in her body is impacted. At the time of her diagnosis, around ten years before her hip replacement, doctors told her she had the hips of an eighty year old, nearly bone on bone. Maintaining the privacy of the rest of the family, I will not give additional details here, only to say I have second and third degree relatives with even more serious cases beginning at extreme young ages. Simple logic, looking at family history and similarity in body type, tells me it is likely I will inherit some level of difficulty with my joints. I do experience stiffness unusual for a thirty-one year old woman, as I explained to the doctor, but the pain is new.

The doctor listened to what I said, then examined me by testing flexibility and strength in my hands and arms. I’ve always been pretty darn flexible for a fat chick, so I have a full range of motion. It doesn’t all feel good all the time, but I know enough to know gentle stretching, even when it’s uncomfortable, is good for my long term mobility prospects. I let her know, at a couple points, what she was doing didn’t feel good.

After the physical part of the exam, she asked about my working conditions. I answered and volunteered the fact I spend a substantial amount of time on the computer and explained about my sewing projects. She suggested rest. Again, impractical. She did not seem interested in my commitment to make costumes by a certain date. She asked which pharmacy I wanted her to send an order for prescription strength Motrin. I would have declined anything stronger, so that was fine. I have no desire to be doped up.

What wasn’t fine was how finished she was with my concerns. No mention of what I’d told her or even a suggestion something other than arthritis. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or simple tendinitis, perhaps. You know, a diagnosis or speculation on a diagnosis with follow up testing.

At this point, I’m sitting on the exam table wishing I’d hadn’t booked the appointment in the first place.

I felt foolish. My opinions and insight weren’t even worthy of discussion. Am I blowing things out of proportion? Is it all in my head?

Instead of shrinking back, I asked her again about the possibility of arthritis.

She preceded to tell me I was too young to have arthritis, but if I don’t loose weight I may eventually develop trouble with my hips and knees. Hips can be replaced, she agreed, but “natural ones last longer, don’t they?” All I could muster to say in response is “that depends” thinking of Mom how long she was in pain before she got her hips replaced. As if to humor me, she offered to order an x-ray of my shoulder.

Already frustrated, I was still determined to handle both problems I’d come in to handle, so I brought up how tired I’d been and requested a referral to someone to evaluate me for getting my tonsils’ removed. Again, I felt like what I said didn’t matter when she referred me to a sleep specialist and told me they would let me know about that. Not as bad as the “if you stay fat, you’ll hurt your joints” dismissal, but insult to injury. The assumption that sleep apnea is caused by excess weight is common and sometimes true especially in those who carry fat around their necks. My situation might be exacerbated by weight, but I was an average size child who snored like a bear with a sinus infection.

For me, it was the last straw. I didn’t tell anyone at the doctor’s office, but I am not going back.

I am not in denial about my weight. I understand my health problems, statistically, would improve if I lost weight. I live in modern America. The message is rammed down my throat constantly: thin equals healthy. I don’t buy into the message in totality, but I want to work on my fitness level and eat better.

I also know myself and my body. When I am not sleeping well, I use food and caffeinated beverages to keep functioning. When I’m well rested and in a positive frame of mind, I make choices which lead to pounds dropping. Science supports both the sleep deprivation in general and sleep apnea specifically as leading to weight gain. I also have low thyroid function and several other markers for polycyclic ovarian syndrome. Even with medication, it makes loosing weight more difficult. Obviously, my poor eating habits are a factor I need to overcome and I do accept responsibility for them.

What I find unacceptable from a medical professional is a judgement based on weight. All the more frustrating when my medical problems are one of the reasons I’m overweight. I don’t expect a layperson to understand, but a doctor should be interested in treating medical causes of weight gain. Even if I looked her in the eye and told her I’m perfectly content to weight 230 pounds, those medical conditions require attention and impact my quality of life.

It was as if my medical issues weren’t worthy of investigation or treatment because I am fat.

The worst part, still, was those fears coming true, that in the eyes of the powers I don’t need what I think I need, my problem isn’t important, my experience isn’t valid.

RIVET ME

What’s more important: Good writing? Or a good story?
(Of course, a book should have BOTH, but…)

Would you rather loose an arm or a leg? Sight or hearing?

Both things are equally important in different ways.

But not answering is a cop out when it comes to hypothetical questions.

I can honestly say, I have finished reading more books with poor writing and good stories than I have finished beautifully written but dull books.

Sometimes I find writing distracting. It can be a style issue or something my high school creative writing teacher would have sent back on my work in red ink. Mr. Brush was legendary. His criticism pushed my writing. Other teachers had given me the A and allowed me good-enough work. He made the effort to pull out the best in me like a good editor should.

When I see things in published work like telling instead of showing or using the same words throughout so many times it breaks the trance of the story. Showing not telling was my pet peeve with the few Danielle Steele I read years ago. She would say point blank x character has y and z personality traits instead of showing x behaving in ways demonstrating y and z. Twilight tended towards redundancy in word choice, a criticism I haven’t often heard, but one of the things which drove me bonkers when I read them.

Still, I finished the Twilight books and read more than one Danielle Steele novel. Why? Even, oh dear God, why?

The concepts were better than the execution.

It happens with movies, too, sometimes. The basic premise is sound, but the end product is bad.

If the plot is something I find compelling, I can overlook flaws or taste issues with the writing simply to find out what happens. Like most lifelong readers and connoisseurs of film and television, seeing how the elements of storytelling (there is nothing new under the sun) are used is a primary motivator for picking up new books or watching new movies and shows. Otherwise, I’d be perfectly happy to experience stories I’d read and seen over again. At my age with all the books I’ve read and enjoyed, coupled with my limited time for reading, I could keep myself happily busy with rereading for the rest of my life if not for the draw of experiencing a fresh take on those ages old ideas. Well done is best, but even done badly, I can enjoy deconstructing the treatment of the old-as-Methuselah plots and concepts often with an eye for how I would have handled the same material. Naturally, I’d do much better.

ON YA FICTION

This weeks question: Why do you think that the Young Adult genre is so popular with even the adult readers? Do you read YA books, yourself?
It is much easier to answer the second question first: I read young adult novels.

I was only 12 or 13 when I started reading books not written for kids and teens. I read a metric ton of books in my teens without regard for anything but interest, one book leading to another as I read through everything I could get my hands on by certain authors.

I did read YA authors like Lois Duncan, Paula Danzig and plenty of others I couldn’t name if you paid me. I read the Chronicles of Narnia. I read Matilda though I was not interested other Dalh. My introduction to Robert Silverberg was a little kid chapter book called Lost Race Of Mars. Boy, was I surprised when I checked To Live Again out of the library at the tender age of twelve. My all-time favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle, is best known for her young adult fiction generally and A Wrinkle in Time specifically. I first read Wrinkle when I was ten, but a few years later I was special ordering memoirs and fiction from the bookstore. Besides classics, science fiction, and classic science fiction, L’Engle was my start into the world of adult novels.

The reason I mention my personal history in transitioning from YA to “regular” books at an early age is that the process has colored my viewpoint. At first, I felt grown up reading and understanding books above my age level. Over time, however, I saw the quality of a book wasn’t related to the age of the intended reader. With this knowledge, I didn’t feel like I shouldn’t read YA though I confess some of the campier fare did begin to bore me.

As an adult, I have no problem reading YA without a lick of shame. Heck, hand me Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein and I’m happy as a clam. Good writing and storytelling are the same no matter who the intended audience. It’s true with movies and television, too.

It is weird to me to think of YA as a genre, let alone in relation to adults reading it. Everyone has their own reasons. For some, it may simply be reading comprehension level. I don’t mean that as a slam. Reading is the best way to increase reading skills and I’m always pro-reading whatever it is a person likes to read. I enjoy “light” adult books not much more difficult.

A couple of my personal reasons for reading YA could be factors for others.

It appears the most popular YA among adults is of the fantastical sort. Be it Harry Potter or Twilight, adults are reading it. Less popular, but way awesome are the Artemis Fowl books which mix myth and magic with high tech gadgets. It could be argued there’s plenty of this type of fiction written for adults, but I do find the YA fantasy and science fiction authors are more likely to be mainstream.

Another sub-genre of YA I’m especially fond of is “coming of age” tales. From classics like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, I love reading about a young person on the precipitous of maturity. Something about that point in life is so compelling. It was when I was at the age of the characters and it is looking back at them through the lens of adulthood. I don’t know anyone who had such a rosy adolescence they can’t relate. And relating to the characters is one of the biggest reasons I read anything.

I’m interested to see other reader’s answers to the why part of the musing.

ON MAKING MONEY BLOGGING

My history with blogging is almost as long as my history writing paid content on the various blogs I’ve owned. My original motivation wasn’t to make money or even become part of a community. I simply wanted a place to “journal” as a writing exercise. It was 2006. MySpace was the popular social network and I began blogging there. Around the same time, I saw a magazine article about Ted Murphy‘s wild idea: PayPerPost.

PayPerPost succeeded, eventually evolving into one service of many offered by social media marketing company Izea. Anyone interested in monetizing a blog would do well to start with Izea, but I am not here to write about how to make money blogging. For one thing, I am no expert.

I have come a long way since that first MySpace blog. Nerdbliss is the third home of my personal blog. I used to have a blog about “internet, blogging and tech” stuff. I just recently began seriously blogging again after a long dry spell and have launched OgleFood.

What I tell those non-bloggers in my life who ask, I’ve never made enough money blogging to make it worth doing if I wouldn’t do it for free. It’s true. I’d always said, my only goal was to make enough to pay for hosting. For a while I made a steady if modest sum. The assignments kept me going because it made me feel like blogging was important. And, hey, money helps.

Since killing my last blog, I haven’t made a dime. I’d hardly blogged. I thought about canceling my hosting plan, giving up once and for all. Instead, I waited out my writer’s block and appear to have found my blogging mojo. I’m blogging for the reasons I am most motivated by: saying my piece, having a “home” on the web, and getting feedback on my writing.

Astute readers may have noticed the beginning of some sponsored content appearing. I’m thrilled. I do, however, worry about the “lack of integrity” argument I’ve seen over the years from some bloggers who would not accept sponsorship or even products to review. I read plenty of those bloggers and respect their choice. Most of those concerns are covered in my disclosure policy, but I do feel it necessary to talk about why I do what I do.

The investment of time in blogging, not just writing but updating technical do-dads and networking to build readership, is substantial. I hope to provide something of value. I want to not just write, but be read. In order to continue investing, I do feel treating my blogging as a business is the best option. It’s like a weirdly egotistical magazine which revolves around me and publishes my writing almost exclusively. No one balks at print or digital magazines and newspapers having ads. Others may be motivated in other ways, but for me, it’s the dream I had as long as I can remember to be a “real” writer which keeps me going. I may never be published in a physical format and am unlikely to ever be able to quit my day job. Still, I’m happy with knowing I’m putting myself out there in a creative way. The return on investment sweetens the pot.

I worry a little that readers and friends will be put off by sponsored content. I don’t care for banner ads and visual clutter, so I’ll try to keep that kind of thing to a minimum. Inserting links with keywords or writing about a product or website is my preference. I try to keep it interesting and as much like my “regular” content as possible.

I hope anyone reading this post sticks with me as I attempted to keep my mojo trucking along.

JANUARY 19TH, 2012 WORD FOR WORD

I read books word for word with a few exceptions. Reference books, including cookbooks, are a find what I need proposition though I will often at read the entire book once to know what information it contains. In short story collections, I often find myself skipping certain stories especially when rereading. More often than not, I’m read a collection a second or twentieth time for one story that’s been on my mind for some reason.

 

When it comes to books containing a narrative spanning the entire length, be it fiction or non-fiction, I do not skip around or skip over sections. It would break my concentration and take me out of the world the book creates in my brain.

I’m not entirely sure how to do so without missing things. It’s not like watching a DVD where you can see the action at super fast speed and would know when to slow down to regular speed again after whatever you were skipping.

What I feel no guilt about is quitting a book where I’d be tempted to skip parts in simply to “finish” or for curiosity’s sake. Okay, that is a slight lie. I don’t feel bad if it’s a random book with which I’m struggling. If it’s a classic or otherwise important book, I worry I’m the problem, rather than the unreadable book or acknowledging not every book is for every reader. It’s a trap I fall into from time to time because one of the reasons I read, at least that kind of book, is to reassure myself I’m as intellectual as I think I. With the total catalog of Project Gutenburg accessible in portable form, I’m going to have to work on that hang up. Too many books and too little time to read something sucky and the only criteria should be wither I think it sucks.

JANUARY 18TH, 2012 I WANT IT NOW! A MEMOIR OF LIFE ON THE SET OF WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY


If I hadn’t stumbled across I Want it Now! on promotion for Kindle, I wouldn’t have sought out Julie Dawn Cole’s memoir. Shamefully, I wouldn’t have recognized her name. Gene Wilder is the only actor’s name I knew from the movie. I suspect most Americans, outside of hard core Wonka maniacs, would say the same. And, while I love the movie, I’ll admit, I read this book in part because I’ve had a wee crush on Gene Wilder since I first saw him as Willy Wonka. Those blue eyes and that charisma drew me in even before I knew about crushes. I read Gene’s memoir, Kiss Me Like A Stranger, a couple years ago. It is among my favorite memoirs and made me feel as though those feelings are not misplaced. He’s every bit as complex as Wonka, but young Julie was nearly Veruca’s polar opposite.

What I learned from the book is while Juile is best known in America as Veruca Salt, she went on to have a successful acting career in British television and theater. At the time she was cast for Wonka, she was commuting hours each day to attend a school for the preforming arts. I admire the dedication to her craft at such a young age. She spent the ten weeks of filming away from her family in a foreign country and speaks candidly about how hard it was while also a wonderful experience.

The bulk of the book centers around the filming of Willy Wonka and Juile’s relationships with the other cast members. It’s truly a memoir of the filming filled with her personal recollections. It’s so sweet how she reveals her long-ago crush on Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie, and how she and Denise Nickerson, who played Violet, would vie for his attention. It put me in mind of my childhood sweetheart in the innocence of it. Michael Bollner, the German boy who Augustus Gloop, did not get to know the others as well because he did not speak English.

One fascinating aspect of filming I would never have guessed is how a majority of scenes were filmed in chronological order. The four children were kept from viewing sets ahead of time to capture genuine reaction. Thinking back on the film’s elaborate sets, I could imagine how much fun it would be to film. The most overused word in the book is “magic” or “magical.” Co-author Michael Esslinger admits as much in the foreword. I tend to notice things like reuse of words in books, and this was no exception, but I honestly don’t know how any other word could fit. Walk onto those colorful sets, told to explore. Imagine, in the chocolate room, many of the props were actually eatable. Magic, no?

After recounting her tales about the Chocolate Factory, Julie covers her acting career, highlights of her personal life, and recent reconnection with the other Wonka kids. A potent reminder one can be famous elsewhere and relatively unknown in the States even among confirmed anglophiles.

I enjoyed the book. The rare and personal photos throughout are worth it alone for those with a strong attachment to the film. I did find the long captions were redundant, sometimes pulled directly from the text, but it is only a small criticism in an overall delightful book. I suspect it was a deliberate choice to appeal to anyone looking to thumb through for the pictures without reading every word. Many of the important points would be covered if one were to do this, but it is a small and light enough to read word for word.

One warning: You will come away a strong urge to watch the movie and it’s not currently offered streaming on Netflix.

GEEKS AND TOYS

What separates typical fans of certain media properties from the fanatics and geeks?

Toys, of course.

If you click on the above imagine, you’ll get a pretty good idea what kind of geeks live here. The “geek display” as we call it, is home to most, but not all, of the toys.

Most of them came with Chris, although I assure him I don’t just love him for his toys. Sure, I’d always go press the button on the Enterprise model that lights up and talks every single time I was over at his place before we moved in together, but what red blooded (not to be confused with red shirted) Trekkie girl wouldn’t?

An astute observer might notice one item seems a tad out of place.

Don’t see it?

Her name is Honeybuzz and she’s not mine.

While she’s not My Little Pony, she is all my fault.

At Dragon*Con, Chris and I saw something strange while waiting in line for William Shatner’s autograph. I remember it was then because it was an extremely long wait in an open area with a good vantage point for costume watching. Picture it: Six or eight pastel pony costumes with heads removed to reveal each and every one of them was worn by a guy. As it happened, I’d seen a piece on the phenomenon of teenaged boys and twenty-something men into the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon. Brony culture, in the flesh, was much stranger than simply an entry at memebase. Naturally, I looked up the video I’d seen for Chris when we got back to our hotel room.

For whatever reason, the Brony thing has stuck around as a joke all these months. Maybe simply because it’s a fandom more silly than any to which we actually belong. Maybe because the fine line between cartoons it’s acceptable for a grown man to love (check out Gir from Invader Zim on the top shelf, front and center) and those it would be strange to enjoy without a child of appropriate age and gender to excuse the viewing is amusing from a sociological standpoint. Maybe I love a running joke far more than is natural.

Whatever the reason, the joke morphed with our friend Alex being accused of being a disgruntled Brony thanks to his colorblindness. The majority of the ponies are gray to him as are the majority of the backgrounds on the show. Poor guy. What torture, we joke, when his young daughter watches the show, that he can’t see his beloved ponies.

As Christmas rolled around, of course, Chris and I planned to get Alex a pink pony. What Chris didn’t know, I had a Little Pony surprise for him, too. Funny gifts make such wonderful memories. I managed to surprise them both. I was tasked with picking up Alex’s pony – any of them as long as she’s pink – and I showed Alex the pony I got for Chris. Neither of them suspected a thing. We set Alex’s up in a big box with his real gift – a pith helmet – well hidden beneath. I wrapped Chris’ before putting the obvious shaped package in a larger box for a second coat of wrapping paper. Along with the dollar store back scratchier wrapped in two Costco sized cereal boxes pushed together at the ends, his pile of gifts from me looked impressive while being 2/3rds silly.

The joke continues. Honeybuzz gets an occasional greeting, pat on the head, or hair brushing to go with her place of honor on the geek display in front of Optimus Prime. As I love a running gag, my delight is as much to blame as Chris’ silliness.

Chris pointed out, per the packaging, Honeybuzz is an industrious pony, always busy. Typically, we are not, preferring an evening on the sofa streaming Netflix to most anything else. Coincidence or no, since Christmas, it seems we’ve accomplished more around the house; cleaning, organizing and crafting more than we usually do. I wouldn’t say we’ve been influenced by little Honeybuzz, but having noticed the connection, she’s been dubbed the Patron Saint of Productivity in our home.

FANCY DRESS WITH GLOVES AND SLEEPING BAG

I’ve mailed out my niece’s birthday package today. It won’t make it in time for her birthday on the 19th, but I’m hopeful it might arrive for her birthday party on Saturday. If not, well, it’s like an extra present after the fact. I feel a little better than it’s handmade goodness I’m tarty with rather than a store bought gift. I shared pictures of the tote bag and coat here last week. They are made to fit 18 inch dolls, specifically in this case, Sabrina’s new-at-Christmas American Girl doll.

I planned to mail yesterday morning, but I had a few struggles. More experience with the seam ripper. The dress was a little tricky. I haven’t figured out how to best handle gathers and the whole bottom is gathered. I also ended up ripping out a bit of one of the sleeve where I bunched the body of the top up under while stitching. I’m hoping such complications won’t be as hard to avoid in people sized garments. I am planning, assuming Sabrina continues to be interested in the doll, to get myself a “fit model” in the form of a cheap doll in the right size. It nothing else, I’d be able to use it for taking pictures of my projects.

I took a picture of the underside of the dress because it shows how the gathers create the “bubble” effect in the skirt. Actually rather fashionable right now. I have mixed feelings about the look on full grown women, but on little girls and dolls, it’s adorable.

It’s perfect in the striped fabric from my remnant stash. By the way, I’ve found the best prices on remnants at Hancock Fabric. Buying gobs of them at 70, 80 and 90 percent off regular price makes it really fun to match up with appropriate patterns. The other thing I’ve used for doll stuff is fat quarters marketed for quilting.

The fabric for the sleeping bag came from All About Fabrics in Williamston, South Carolina. They’re outlet open one weekend a month in the warehouse end of a textile mill. It’s epic, folks. Huge bolts of fabric, much of it upholstery fabric, and lots of odds and ends. Totally worth a day trip for anyone who’s interested in costuming, for sure, but I digress.

The sleeping bag represents two sewing milestones. I’d never worked with any stretch fabrics on the sewing machine before and avoided them for the most part while hand stitching Barbie clothes. I bought the end of a bolt of this stuff because I love it. The pictures don’t do it justice. In person, what looks like pink is red and the whole thing is far more bold. I have plans for something… maybe a couple somethings… out of the stuff for my wardrobe, but it seemed just right for this project. Zigzag stitch is pretty awesome. After sewing the “batting” to the stretchy stuff, it was much easier to handle.

I even used the zigzag for the zipper and sewed it in without a zipper foot. Proud to say, no seam ripping was required and it actually zipped.

I hope Sabrina enjoys playing with it all as much as I enjoyed making it with none of the frustration I experienced in their creation.

 

KINDLE CONVERT

Today’s question:
What devices –if any– do you read books on? Do you find it enjoyable, or still somewhat bothersome? Or: If you only read the print books, why haven’t you chosen to read on any devices?

The shine is still on my Kindle. Chris got it for me for Christmas. I’d decided I’d wanted one a while ago and carefully debated the features of the various Kindle models before picking one for my, conveniently on Amazon, wish list. In the end, I decided my purpose would be best filled with the basic model. See, I have two laptops at my disposal at home. One is essentially used as a desktop in our office. The other lives in the living room, but trails to the dinning room, kitchen or bedroom as I go about my day. I use it to pay music or listen to podcasts pretty much all the time when I’m home alone along with keeping Firefox open for Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader. Now, all that stuff would be awesome on the Kindle Fire, but my needs are filled with the laptop. I’ve got Netflix on the PS3 or Wii. And that’s only the tip of our gadget iceberg.

The Kindle, I wanted for reading. Old fashioned reading of books.

I don’t have a ton of time to sit around with a book. It’s a good in many ways. I’m busy with other things that make me happier than I’d be if I was reading all the time. I’ve downloaded eBooks and attempted to read on the computer. If I’m on the computer, reading, I’m distracted by all kinds of other things. Plus, you can’t lay in bed with a laptop or read in the bathroom (I do it unabashedly). The basic Kindle takes away all those distractions. The things it does do besides displaying eBooks and documents are painfully inconvenient without a keyboard or touch screen. Even doing the initial set up was tedious and I saved most of it (specifically, typing in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in the device name field) to do on Amazon from the computer. I would recommend the more advanced versions for anyone who wants to access Twitter or Facebook from their Kindle. I do those things from my Blackberry – sometimes even when I’m a foot away from the laptop – so I didn’t want the feature in my eReader.

It’s been under a month, but I flipping love my Kindle. It’s sleek and lightweight. I can’t begin to describe how comfortable the E Ink is on the eyes. Lack of backlight contributes, no doubt. I found I’m reading faster. My eyes just glide over the words. The font is adjustable. Mine is set on the smallest setting, about the size of print in the average paperback. Pictures and other images are crisp and clean.

Now, I do love physical books. I got two for Christmas. A reference book about sewing I’d asked for: How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns: From store-bought patterns to drafting your own: a complete guide to fashion sewing with confidence and Jeff Dunham’s All By My Selves. With the sewing book or any other how-to or reference books where images and diagrams are important, I suspect I’ll always prefer the physical book. From a functional perspective, I can keep it with my project with bookmarks or lists marking the pages. Even a color eReader wouldn’t fit the bill. Plus, one of the things I like on the Kindle is how it comes to life on the last page I was reading. I’m reading a book on the Kindle, currently sitting on the bathroom counter, and working on a project requiring the reference book. Call be lazy, but I’d rather have those two separate than toggle back and for multiple times per day.

One thing I haven’t done yet is to take the Kindle out with me. I’m still working on is either finding a sleeve or cover I love. More likely, I’ll be making a sleeve. I’m less worried about breaking or dosing with water since I picked up the $24.99 insurance plan. Best investment ever for peace of mind. It’s a beautiful device for the hardcore readers.