Tag Archives: upgrading to a smartphone

My Black Friday Best Buy

Black Friday 001

Out on Black Friday

This year I did not want to go Black Friday shopping.  I wanted to sleep off the tryptophan, pumpkin pie and half bottle of red wine.  Then I wanted to leisurely slink around my sister’s house and clean up dirty dishes, tracked in dirt, and other remnants of our festivities.  My husband had other plans.

Bass Pro Shops is having a huge sale on .22 ammo, but we have to be there by 0500 so that means we really have to get up at 0400.”  Van informed me as we put away leftovers.

“What is this ‘we’ business?  I don’t want to go shopping!  I hate crowds as much as you.”  I was genuinely shocked that he even wanted to go out on Black Friday.

“The ammo prices are incredible!  But we are limited to one box each.  So I have a plan.  I am going to hide boxes around the store, then we’ll go back later to buy more.”

“Ooh, clever!  Do you have different disguises for this mission, 007?”

“Shut up.  Remember, 0400 tomorrow.”

“Yes Sir!”

I begrudgingly woke up at 0400 on Black Friday and shimmied into semi-presentable clothing.  My brother-in-law, a giant grizzly bear of a man known as Bubby, had coffee ready for us, and the three of us loaded into my cold, dark car.  When we arrived at Bass Pro, the parking lot was already packed and people had begun to park in makeshift spots with the assistance of the Independence Police Department.  A very long line had formed across the storefront.  We drove by, gaping at all the camo clad consumers who had been standing in the freezing cold for hours.

After making a half ass attempt at finding a parking space (because we knew it was a lost cause) we all agreed to go to Best Buy, and Van pulled out of the parking lot.  That is when we saw the rest of the line.  It went on for the entire length of the store and then some, possibly a quarter mile of people!  There must have been close to 2,000 people at that single store, just standing in line waiting to get in and shop for .22 ammo and assorted Doorbusters.

“Oh, screw that!” Van sped up as Bubby and I stared in amazement.

On to Best Buy, where I received an early Christmas present: new Acer laptop to replace my “ancient” HP that keeps trying to die, and a smartphone to replace my non-smartphone, a 5 year old Samsung that I have balked at replacing.  Picking out the laptop wasn’t terribly difficult, just a matter of finding the right fit for my life.  The phone selection was a little tougher but there is one surefire way to point me to the right product: mention that it is FREE.  I ended up with an awesome Android (one that Van had researched) and we only paid for the Otter Box .   I let the poor sleep deprived Best Buy sales associates drop my phone to demonstrate the Otter Box’s magnificence.  It wasn’t as dramatic as we all had hoped, but they’d been up all night and really seemed to need a win to make up for working on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

The only challenge we encountered was getting through some minor upgrade red tape for AT&T.  In an earlier post I mentioned plans to boycott AT&T (this was ten years ago while I was deployed and really pissed off at AT&T).  Well life works out pretty funny, doesn’t it?  AT&T bought the little ALLTEL Wireless holdout in the Black Hills just before we moved.  What do you do…Anyway, my husband had to provide an ID for verification because he is the primary account holder, and after he walked away to look at enormous televisions with Bubby, the sales associates leaned over and conspiratorially mentioned to me that Van looks just like Tom Cruise on his ID, “only less crazy”.  Bonus!  Any day that a Tom Cruise reference is thrown at my husband is a good day!

So I ended up with a nice new laptop — which I have yet to take out of the box.  I have played with my new phone for a week and I love it.  I feel kind of guilty though; I don’t miss my old phone at all.  It was a good phone, and it served me well.  It almost never did anything wrong, and it lasted years without so much as a hiccup or dent — only a few small scratches.  I balked at getting a smartphone because I couldn’t justify paying so much when my old phone was getting the job done.  But now it is pretty great to be able to have a built in GPS, access to online weather stations, Facebook, and so much more…!  Well, that is the story of progress.  I got my Christmas presents early, and now you can view my very first video, via my smartphone!

Normally I am not so bitchy sounding and shaky, but after half a bottle of wine, half a night’s sleep, and half a pot of coffee, I felt like I had a hangover.  I was also really excited about my new phone so it got silly!

—G

Time For a Cool Change

Today was a good day and also a day that revealed a truth I can no longer deny.  I need a smart phone.  I have gone a long time with a plain old cell phone that does a fantastic job just being a phone.  It makes calls.  It receives calls.  It has a clear, loud ring tone.  It has wonderful volume control.  If I really must, I can text.  It doesn’t do anything else well but I have never required anything else of my cell phone.  I always thought that like church and state, cell phones and cameras were better kept separate.  Until today.

Time to break free from the harness of antiquated technology and run wild!

Time to break free from the harness of antiquated technology and run wild!

My husband suggested that we take a family mini holiday and drive through the country to a pumpkin patch just a few miles from our house since the weather was so beautiful.  The kids and I were up for an adventure, so we grabbed sweaters and jumped in the car.  I put my camera in my purse, excited about the prospect of getting some adorable fall photos of the family looking for pumpkins in a corn field.  We pulled up to the  incredibly gorgeous Munson Angus Farm.  It was a perfect scene.  A limestone farmhouse in the distance, a buckboard wagon bouncing down the road, pulled by two enormous black draft horses, and the smell of a campfire somewhere nearby, made a very appealing backdrop to our afternoon in the country.

We paid for admission, which included wagon rides to and from the pumpkin patch, a walk trough the corn maze, one pumpkin per family member, and a baggie of ingredients to assemble S’mores on the campfire.  What fun!  I couldn’t wait to start taking pictures of all the good times we would be having.  The buckboard wagon pulled up and after snapping a quick candid of the horses in motion, I prepared to climb aboard.  Once I was settled in on the bench I pulled out my camera again and took a picture of the horses, from the rear and over the ears, sort of a horses-eye view of where we were headed…and my camera immediately died, its battery exhausted.  I stared at it incredulously.  Really?  Really?  Again?  Are you kidding me?  This was not the first time my camera had betrayed me.  If I had a dollar for every birthday party, date night, anniversary dinner, New Year’s Eve soiree, or just random awesome moment at which it would be really nice to have a functional camera, when my camera chose to die from exhaustion, I could buy a new camera.  I slumped over on the hard wooden bench of the wagon, kind of sheepish but also really pissed off at the camera.  It has no mechanism to tell me that the battery is running low; it just goes and goes until BAM!  Dead.  Just when I am counting on it for the cutest pictures of the most fun day ever.  I know, dramatic.  But still, it could have warned me.

I forgot about the camera as soon as we were dropped off at the corn maze, which was an ingeniously cut serious of trails in the Munson Farms corn field.  My family goofed around and plodded through the dry stalks until we found ourselves at the end, then we cheered and started looking through the vines of vibrant pumpkins that had been planted on the outskirts of the field.  As we were having our adorable family bonding moments I started thinking again how nice it would have been if my camera were working because oh look!  How cute was my daughter just then, with the sun hitting her face just so as she bent down to grab the tiny pumpkin.  Well that moment was lost.  Oh, and look and how eerie the corn stalks appear…that would have been a phenomenal photo.  Oh well, the moment is lost on paper but maybe I can burn it in my mind!  Oh, here comes the wagon to pick us up, another great photo opportunity, but I don’t have a camera to capture it.  Balls!  By the time we got back to the farm I was basking in the late afternoon sun on the outside and seething in hatred for my camera on the inside.

Sitting around the campfire with our S’mores was our last event before we visited the stable to pet Big Ben.  At around 19 hands tall, he is the largest draft horse in Kansas and second largest in the US, according to his owners.    I couldn’t wait to see him,  but the camera failure had by now really made me upset.  It was at this point my husband pulled his smartphone out of his pocket and began casually shooting pictures of the girls while they roasted marshmallows.  I won’t lie.  It took a lot of strength not to throttle him.  All that time he had a perfectly good camera on his person, and he never once offered to let me borrow it!  Now I have never been a fan of smartphones, and I really don’t like my husband’s.  I probably would have had difficulty using it, and I probably would have bitched about how I couldn’t get it to work and how it wasn’t taking the pictures right.  So I guess it was better that I didn’t know he had it until we were almost done.  And I didn’t yell at him about concealing this bit of information either.  But I was annoyed.  As if enough insult had not been added to injury, suddenly Big Ben galloped majestically over a small hill and came loping toward me with one of his caretakers riding him regally like a Celtic queen.  “Let’s go pet him Mommy!” my girls yelled and raced to follow Big Ben to the stables as  I choked back tears at having missed a once in a lifetime photo opportunity and vowed to right this massive injustice to the photography world.

After we packed our pumpkins and marshmallow-sticky kids in the car and deposited everything back at the house I plugged my unreliable camera battery in to charge it.  I shook my head and cursed at it.  It is time for a change.  I knew this day would come.  Just last night my husband and I were talking about this very problem.  I have had my cell phone since 2008 and even though I LOVE it, I need something like a super dependable smartphone with a high quality camera, especially since my digital camera is so sketchy.  It’s like that shady boyfriend from college who always disappeared after borrowing money and eating all the dairy products in my refrigerator.  I need a gadget that wants a commitment, that doesn’t make me look bad in front of my family, especially after I’ve reassured everyone that “I’m bringing the camera to the party!”  I understand how much more professional, high speed, and reliable my content can be if I have a smartphone on hand to snap on the spot pictures.  I get it that combining a great camera into a great phone just makes sense.  Most of all I am ready to take another plunge into an even deeper pool of technology and gadgetry if it means less stress, less camera fails, and more kept memories.  Here I go, taking one more step outside the cave.

—G

Sometimes you just have to move onward!

Sometimes you just have to move onward!