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Technology (09/05/2012)
By Frances Edstrom

The last few weeks have been technologically challenging for me. Luckily, I have two daughters who are whizzes at all that stuff, and they came to my rescue.

First, we couldn’t figure out how to fast forward through DVDs of the Doc Martin series on loan from friends. My sister had not seen any of the PBS show, and was interested, and I had missed a lot of the last season. There are a total of seven DVDs, and we could only watch the first episode on each disk. It makes for a rather disjointed story, especially when the female lead ends up pregnant, and we hadn’t seen the episodes that would explain it. We did find out how to watch it on a different television, but the picture was so dark, it was annoying.

I know, you’re thinking, “Hey those two are obviously doddering old ladies, and they’ll never learn.” But we did (sort of)!

Cassidy showed me how to use the remote to fast forward on the upstairs TV, but when I tried it after she left, I had some trouble. By the time I had it down, all we found out was that we had already seen all the episodes on that particular disk. By then, my sister had totally lost patience with me, and it was my bedtime, so we decided get a good night’s sleep and try again the next day.

The problem with the dark TV was not, as I feared, that it was going to have to be replaced. We only used it for football, golf, and baseball, and won’t even be using it for that any more. What it needed was to have the DVD picture reprogrammed to normal instead of “cinema,” which I didn’t even know existed.

My new cell phone (I’m warning you, don’t get a new cell phone!) was set up by daughter Morgan. I have a chronic aversion to product manuals. I feel that if I am forced to read pages and pages of badly written instructions, translated from the Japanese into English by an Ecuadoran, I may not need the darn product. But luckily, my kids’ addiction to their phones has meant that they know all about them, so I’m all set.

But this morning, in the dark car in the garage, I couldn’t find my phone. I wanted to get to work, so decided to just leave and worry about the phone later. My sister called my cell number, and we could hear a faint quack. I chose a duck quack for a ringtone in memory of John. My sister says I should have chosen one that shouts, “Here I am! Here I am you idiot!” and has a searchlight like they use at car dealerships for big promotions.

On the other hand, I could just not have a cell phone at all, certainly a tempting option. But I’ve gotten so used to having it at my fingertips (if I can find it), that I’ve actually found it to be useful in calling the office when I have forgotten something. I must have finally arrived in the twenty-first century. Or part of me, at least.

How to make a poodle useful

I just received an email from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) about the state’s use of detection dogs to find ash wood logs and logs infested with emerald ash borer (EAB). MDA and Working Dogs for Conservation will display the detection dogs’ abilities at Minnesota Wood Recyclers in Winona on Thursday.

I have to tell you, I’ve been struggling with trying to find my male Standard Poodle, Frankie d’Avalon, some meaningful work. So far, all he can do is eat and poop, lick me (which I hate), and run after a ball or a treat. I’ve always been of the opinion that each sailor on this ship of life has to pull his own weight, and I didn’t see that happening with Frank. Yes, he barks at people who come into the yard. But he also barks at squirrels and birds and deer.

He does have a keen sense of smell, as my sister can attest. He has stolen more than one sweet roll from the kitchen counter. So why not put that sense of smell to work? I could drop him off on my way to the office, and he’d put in a nice satisfying day of work, instead of doing what he does now…nothing. 


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