The Blogger Returns


After getting back to work and being able to take a break from my vacation, I’m back into my writing routine. I took a look at the articles that have been simmering for the past few weeks; it’s a wonder some of them haven’t boiled over! The good news is that I can finish these up and stay on schedule for the next few weeks while I polish some of the latest ideas I’ve been working on. The question remains: what to write about first? My answer: the post closest to completion: my first experience with an e-reader.

As you may remember, a few weeks ago I began preparing for Banned Books Week. No, I’m not going to tell you my list, but here’s a hint: at least one of the 7 is in the public domain, available on Project Gutenberg, and listed on GoodReads. I’ve always had an aversion to e-readers, but in this case reading the book in some kind of electronic format would save me 14.99 +tax. (Jinkes! A clue!) My wife kindly volunteered the use of her Nook, a gift I had (begrudgingly) bought for her a year or two ago.

I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats with anticipation.

It wasn’t long before I found my first complaint. Unlike real books, the Nook required charging. Despite the fact that I had successfully downloaded the file (and could read it in Notepad if I really wanted to), I had to wait for 45 minutes while the Nook charged. Really!? I like to be able to start reading as soon as I get home. However, I wasn’t going to give up just yet.

Once I transferred the file (and found it in the right folder), I started reading. It took me a few tries, but eventually I was able to consistently turn the page without highlighting anything. That night I read for several hours with no further complaints.

I loved the fact that the Nook remembered my place. I have a nasty habit of either not using bookmarks or having them “accidently” fall out. In fact, I just like thumbing through books and grabbing random phrases. But in this case, it would have been catastrophic to lose my place. (Look gang! Another clue!)

Eventually I had another problem: lighting. I’m used to reading in low light, but the Nook doesn’t really allow that. Despite touting itself as having ink and paper qualities, the screen just doesn’t reflect light the way white paper does. Since I’m not a caveman and pay my electric bill, this was not a hardship.

It took me a couple of days, but I eventually finished the book. Then I sat down and made some lists.


  1. Easy to transport. Being able to take my book almost anywhere was a tremendous advantage.
  2. Free books. Need I say more?
  3. No worries about losing my place
  4. No paper cuts
  5. Something to write about


  1. Dependent on electricity
  2. Difficult to look back for information since I don’t make a habit of remembering page numbers
  3. Difficult to highlight or take notes
  4. No paper feel/smell

The result? The Nook didn’t win me over to using e-readers, but neither did it alienate me. I’d probably use one again if there was a book I really wanted to read and could get it for free. Other than that, I’d gladly pay more for the real thing.


I Aten’t Dead

If you understand this, you’ve won a rhinu.
Please see The Luggage for your prize.
Photo Credit:

Just a note to let you know I’m still alive. A new school year starts on Friday, and teacher’s meeting and work days occupied the last few weeks. I really do have some articles about ready to publish, and I’ve been working on Banned Books Week 2013 (Anticipate a post about my first experience with an e-book). See you soon when we return to our regularly scheduled broadcast…

Post No. 36: I Visit the Dentist.

Open wider…I can almost reach your wallet!

After an 8 year hiatus I finally broke down and went to the dentist. More specifically, tooth #30 – the one directly in front of the right back molar – cracked, thereby forcing me to go to the dentist. I didn’t want to go, but two days of a splitting headache (which started to develop into an earache) convinced me otherwise. So on Friday last I called the dentist and made an appointment. I got the first available for today: 7:45.

Boy has the dentist changed since I last went. The last time I visited a dentist, there was that hospital-antiseptic smell everywhere, the chairs were designed for maximum irritability, and the staff was preoccupied with their own chatter. The dentist I visited today was the polar opposite. The office smelled nice, the chairs had a massage feature, the staff seemed genuinely interested in me as a person and a patient (it also helped that the hygienist went to school with my wife), and cable TV was provided in every room – with the patient in charge of the station.

The x-ray wasn’t what I expected either. The last time I had x-rays done there was a huge film holder that I had to pinch between my teeth. The protective vest felt like it weighed 20 pounds, and there was an special “x-ray room” that often had a line in it. Today, all I had to do was hold a wand – much like a toothbrush – with the film attached. There was an unobtrusive x-ray machine in every room. The vest was the size of those protective napkins they give you. It was actually bearable.

I also appreciated the fact that the office let me know what my expense would be before the dentist began work on me. Since the offensive tooth was being extracted, it was good to know what to expect before the meds kicked in.

Then the dentist started shooting me up with novocaine. A lot of novocaine.

Dr. Breck: We’re giving you more novocaine than the average patient.
Me: I always knew I was above average!

Finally I couldn’t feel anything, so he began to remove my tooth. After some work, he told me he would have to split my tooth. It turned out that my tooth needed to be split into four parts to get it out.

This is not my tooth.
This tooth is in one piece.

With much pulling and prodding all the pieces finally came out. And then it was over. I scheduled a checkup visit two weeks from now.


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