I feel like I can’t continue with this blog entry until I explain my long absence. To do so, I’ll use that most feared of lists, the bulleted list:
- I, like every single person reading this blog, came down with the flu at the end of January. I’m pretty sure I almost died of moderate achiness and mucus. Just mucus. Weeks of mucus.
- I, like a few people reading this blog, stubbed my second-to-last toe repeatedly (I realize this is a problem), separated the nail from the toe, and came down with a horrifyingly painful toe infection–at the same time I had the flu.
- I, like one or two people reading this blog, unexpectedly took in an eight-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy (now named Mabel) and spent eight hours a day cleaning up dog urine—at the same time I had the flu and a horrifyingly painful toe infection.
These spirit-challenging adventures occupied most of February. March arrived, and my mother had knee replacement surgery, which turned out to be the least problematic event of the month. (Probably, for her, it was the most problematic event of the month. But this isn’t her blog.)
I dealt with the following events in the 10-day period in March:
- Two of our dogs had a fight when we were gone one fated Sunday evening, which was totally my fault, so I drowned in self-imposed guilt for a week or two afterwards.
- The three-legged dog developed a disgusting, post-fight abscess.
- We spent $700 on a stray cat, Fred, who needed his front paw amputated.
- I discovered a litter of five orphaned kittens in the backyard shed.
- I brought all five (feral) kittens inside to live in son’s room after rescuing two of them from certain death (or, at the least, really loud barking) via the dogs.
- We brought Mom home from the hospital.
- We threw our son’s fifth birthday party at Mom’s house the day after bringing her home from the hospital. (We threw up the decorations and laid out the food 20 minutes before the four guests arrived, so, yeah . . . we pretty much crushed it.)
- I arranged for the three-legged abscessed dog to go to the vet and for the three-legged cat to come home and live in son’s room two hours before son’s birthday party. (We DO have a lot of three-legged animals [three]—I don’t know why.)
- I was bitten by one of the feral kittens and developed immediate infection in index finger of right hand, thereby necessitating another digit rescue via Levaquin, a disturbingly strong antibiotic that does weird things to your poop and disallows exercise and direct exposure to sunlight—fat vampires love it. (It’s very safe, as long as you drink a few gallons of water per day and do the sign of the cross every time you take one.)
And that was March.
In April and May, I didn’t rise out of the ashes like a phoenix to conquer the universe. I did, however, finally read the Hunger Games books. (Enjoy that $19, Suzanne Collins.) We also spent a week in the mountains, which was a vacation for me only because I didn’t have to do any animal chores. I’m very much looking forward to seeing our beloved dead pets in the heavenly beyond when I die, but only if they don’t poop.
Regardless of what’s happening with infected digits or mucus production or weird poop, I read a lot. I spent enough money at Amazon last year to fund a small country of mildly sarcastic English majors (I have dreams, too, you know), and I use daily both a regular kindle and the kindle fire, version #1.
I am a HUGE fan of Amazon, in general, so, if you hate Amazon, you’ll likely want to stop reading now. If Amazon becomes the next Scientology-like cult, I’m in like Flynn. Why do I love Amazon so much? Let me count the ways!
- The Web site is super easy to use, always has been. Far superior to Barnes & Noble’s Web site, or maybe I just got used to Amazon’s site first. Regardless, Amazon.com and I are *like this*. We understand each other. It gets me. It’s just a matter of time before it puts a ring on it.
- Amazon Prime—ermahgerd. I LOVE IT. Before I had my kindle fire, we had two Rokus in the house, and a Roku device allows one to watch Hulu Plus shows and Amazon Instant Video videos on the TV instead of on a computer or mobile device. So, I was already a fan of Amazon’s various video services, but Prime members get their Prime shows and movies for free. A lot of them are older series or PBS series, but, still. We enjoy some of those series. What I benefit most from as a Prime member is the shipping—free two-day shipping and $3.99 (per item) overnight shipping. I use it CONSTANTLY because did I mention that I buy a lot of our food and dry goods from Amazon? Oh, yes. I do. Did I forget to buy toilet paper and/or deodorant at the store again? Yes? Order it on Amazon and avoid becoming a social pariah!
I’m not a big fan of reading books on backlit devices, as I prefer the visual “feel” of a typical, grayscale book, which is where my regular, inexpensive kindle comes in to play. It’s also really lightweight, which is better for my wrists that are almost as strong as a toddler’s wrists (carpel tunnel syndrome . . . when you want to get out of lifting heavy sh*t for the rest of your life). It’s also easier to read/see in strong sunlight, so I use it when I’m outside with my son. I’m REALLY hard on my kindle; I drop it, scratch it, stick it in my purse without a cover, which is akin to sticking a helpless, delicious baby in the middle of a pack of crazed hyenas. It takes all of that abuse and asks for more.
Also, this is my third regular kindle (I can stop whenever I want!), and I got the one with ads because I figured I wouldn’t notice the screensaver, regardless of whether it had a lame drawing of an author or an ad for something awesome. I was correct; I don’t notice it. To be fair, there is also a small banner ad at the bottom of the home page; I don’t notice that, either.
I do hate not having a physical keyboard because my first two kindles had a physical keyboard. The on-screen keyboard wouldn’t be annoying if it were a touch screen (which is available in a different model), but I got the cheapest kindle, which isn’t a touch screen, which means that I have to click, click, click, click to get to a each letter or number I want to type if I’m searching for a book in the Amazon store or want to go to a specific location within my current book. Annoying. (That was a really long sentence. Apologies.)
I actually bought the second version of the kindle many moons ago, when it was still very expensive, because, in developing the kindle, Amazon crawled into my head, figured out what I need to be able to read constantly and with no hassle, and created the device of my dreams. No waiting for my books at the library! No going to the library or anywhere else to retrieve said books (because I’m a grumpy hermit)! No heavy books to hold up constantly, thereby saving my toddler wrists significant strain! IMMEDIATE DELIVERY, which meant no more ordering books via overnight delivery to keep myself occupied over a weekend! (I will hear no criticism of that practice—would you rather that I buy drugs from my sketchy neighbors with my money? I didn’t think so.) One-hand page turning, making it even easier to read while eating Cheetos!
I know several people who eschew e-readers, in general, because they want to read “real books.” I don’t know what the hell that means. The book, for me, is the content, the story. I don’t want to get all Platonic Form-y on you, but a book is a book, regardless of the physical form it takes. Now, I have one friend, whose name rhymes with Shmangie, who likes to collect hardback versions of certain books in series because she thinks they’re attractive—and they are. But she’s also a big fan of her own kindle and kindle fire. So suck it, regular books!
So, to sum up, I love my kindle. I do. I love it so much that I asked for the kindle fire for Christmas after it first came out, and I am not sorry I did. I can read on it in low-light situations, I can watch shows or movies on it, I can browse the web on it (and it has Flash—are you listening, Apple?), and I can shop at Amazon (so easily) on it. Mobile toilet paper-buying? YES!
The kindle fire is perfect for the treadmill. I cannot emphasize this point enough. The kindle fire is perfect for the treadmill. Once or twice a year, I’ll train for a half-marathon, even if I don’t have a specific half-marathon race to train for. It allows me to indulge my raging sweet tooth as regularly as I desire without gaining weight, and anything that makes cookie eating more responsible is okay by me. Unless I’m walking a dog, I vastly prefer to do my training on the treadmill, but I have to have something to watch and/or read for the long sessions (because I mostly walk fast instead of run in order to spare my 90-year-old hips, so you can imagine how long it takes to complete 8-9 miles—a long freaking time). So, on the kindle fire, I can utilize one of three services—the Amazon Instant Video store if I want to purchase a TV episode or a movie, the Hulu Plus app, or the HBO GO app, which allows me to watch any HBO series I want because we’re currently HBO subscribers. OR, I can read my current murder-y book and adjust the brightness and the font size so that it’s easier to read while exercising. It’s possible to adjust font size on a regular kindle for easier reading on a treadmill, too, but page turning on the fire is just a little easier while exercising and trying not to pass out.
Is the kindle fire as enjoyable a user experience as the iPad? No. The touch screen isn’t as smooth, and the iPad is more intuitive, in general. Does the kindle fire make watching the Jack Reacher movie more enjoyable? Unfortunately, no, as the sound is so clear that I can hear the horrifying soundtrack all too well. However, the kindle fire is pretty freaking great and is MUCH more reasonably priced than even the iPad Mini. So, I’ll continue to love my kindles like a two-dollar whore.