My New Computer – Blessing or Curse?

MacBook Air, notepad, candle and cocoa

I see a lot of photos like this on Instagram. Pretty, right?  I love the idea of making something functional beautiful. But looking at that pic right now, I just want to scream – and laugh because whose work space ever looks like that?

For the purpose of this post, I actually photographed my girls’ MacBook Air because it’s sleeker and better looking than my clunky Dell laptop.  Yeah, I’m still a PC user.  I just can’t seem to get myself to transition to a Mac even though EVERYONE I’ve ever spoken to says it’s the only way to go. I’m stuck! Stuck in a business world mindset that still prefers a PC.

Although my business days are long gone, I find adjusting to a Mac to be too much trouble.

Honestly, after last week, I’d go back to pen and paper and toss all technology to the curb if I could.

My New Computer

Here’s what happened – I had the good fortune of getting a new laptop -still a PC, still a Dell – nothing fancy. Just new and a lot lighter than my old one, which was actually hard for me to pick up with one hand. Saying that out loud actually sounds ridiculous.

This should’ve been a good thing, but oh how it wasn’t. The trouble wasn’t with my new computer itself, it was the transferring all of my “stuff” from old to new that presented the problem. I didn’t dare attempt this on my own; I sought the help of an expert – three to be exact.

It’s worth mentioning that my computer usage is by no means complicated. I use Word, Outlook, Excel and the Internet. That’s pretty much it. My goal was simple: replicate my original setup on my new computer.

Three technicians and ten days later, I’m still using my old computer.

Much like winter snowflakes, no two computers are alike. What I assumed to be a simple task was apparently far more complex than I could ever imagine.

Tech Guys

My only request to each of the three technicians I commissioned was this; make my new computer look exactly like the old one. First and foremost – email and calendar. A simple .pst file I was told -no problem!

The first guy returned my computer saying everything was all set with one caveat, Outlook failed to load so no emails or calendar appointments. Um, wasn’t that the one thing I said was most important? OK, I said – what do I do now? He informed me he was closing his shop the next day – I mean going out of business. What? Was this dude serious? Not only was he serious, I’m pretty sure he was stoned. I took my computers and ran; happy I still had them both intact.

Guy number two was a friend of a friend who worked with me remotely. He was really just doing a favor to help me understand what went wrong with the guy number one (I think we all know what went wrong with number one). Guy two helped me get Outlook reactivated, but none of my old stuff was recovered. He suggested I get in touch with someone locally who could take a closer look at both systems.

OK, next! My third guy was actually great, but by this time I was so frazzled I started to unravel. Clearly, whatever I had going on with my email was not a simple fix.  After several, nearly successful, attempts to get it right, I abandoned the mission. I had reached a point where I felt like I was throwing money out the window and I just couldn’t handle the anxiety of it all.

Now What?

As I type, my new computer sits to my left – closed, quiet and untouched for the last 48 hours. It’s taunting me and I don’t want to look at it much less deal with it. It scares me to think that in order to use it I will have to start over from scratch.

The blessing and the curse of my scenario is that my old computer is still functioning. A blessing because all my files, emails and appointments are still accessible; a curse because it’s the crutch I keep falling back on while I avoid the inevitable.

Eventually, I will transition to my new computer. It may require some manual entry of calendar items and there may be some emails lost along the way, but the reality is that my old, heavy laptop is on its way out. It’s crashing more and more often, its little engine revs so loudly I can barely hear my phone ring and an upgrade is long overdue. I can’t remember exactly how long I’ve had my good old laptop. That alone suggests it’s much too old.

I’m sure 2017 will welcome many new and exciting things and love it or hate it; one will be a new computer. Fingers crossed I end up loving it.

Do you have a computer nightmare/technology-gone-wrong story to share?

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Fall TV … Watcha Watchin’?

Fall TV Preview from Entertainment Weekly

Last week was great. Yes, the crisp, cool weather had something to do with it, but really it was because fall TV kicked off and I was so happy to see the return of some of my favorite shows.

I’m pretty simple when it comes to what I watch. Sitcoms and light-weight dramas that don’t focus on crime, adultery and murder are my favs. Sorry, no “How to Get Away with Murder” for me.

Last week presented the return of some old favorites as well as one new show that I’d been anxiously awaiting. Now that I’m nearly 100 percent “Housewives” free, I have so much time to dedicate to new programming.  Sorry “Housewives,” but as of this moment all franchises have been deleted from my DVR. Your manufactured fights, insincere meltdowns and fake friendships are just too much, even for me. I am done with all of you! Well, except for New York, because I just can’t shake Bethenny, Ramona and the Countess as much as they annoy me and they are on break until next year anyway.

So, what am I watching? Here’s my fall TV breakdown so far.

Fall TV – Oldies but Goodies

Modern Family, ABC – It makes me so sad to say that I’ve lost interest in this show. It’s been happening pretty steadily over the last few seasons, but I have to admit that I don’t even remember what last week’s episode was about. I think the folks at “Modern Family” should seriously consider their exit strategy. The plots are predictable and the acting is stilted. It’s as if they are performing a play where only one actor can speak at a time. The flow and comedic timing of this show is gone. Boohoo.

Black-ish, ABC – This show has only been around since 2014. I’ve liked the interplay of all of the family members, including grandparents (Laurence Fishburne plays Pops). However, this season opener seemed a little disjointed. Maybe it’s because they took the family out of the home and plopped them into Disney World or maybe it’s because they are trying to add to the family fun with a baby on the way –I don’t know, but it seemed forced and unfunny. I think I dozed off half way through – never a good sign.

The Goldbergs, ABCI love “The Goldbergs” and while my sister said she didn’t enjoy this fall’s, ode to “The Breakfast Club,” premiere I must say I found myself giggling all the way through. I realize that my fondness for this show has to do with my own affinity for the 1980s. While many love to hate that era, I look back on it affectionately and appreciate the show’s talent at bringing it all back to life. Still a fan.

Grey’s Anatomy, ABCI have watched this show religiously since it began and I cannot believe I still enjoy it in its 13th season. But I do! The start of season 13 took off running with a major focus on Dr. Alex Karev. Thank you Shonda Rhimes! He’s always been one of my favorite characters and I don’t know about you, but I think he looks better than ever. It’s sad that he beat one of his fellow doctors to a pulp, but I’m still glad to see him back at center stage. The writers also threw in a few romance and relationship twists that I think should be just enough to make this a lucky season 13.

Fall TV – New

This Is Us, NBC – I finally broke away from ABC to give NBC’s, highly publicized drama, “This Is Us,” a look.  I had a good feeling about this from the moment I saw the trailer. Maybe it was the great music or maybe it was the Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia coupling that caught my interest. Either way, I like it. I will say that the plot twist at the end of the episode led me to believe that the opening scene was a bit deceiving in terms of setting and time period, but I won’t hold that against them.  Did anyone else catch what I’m talking about?

Fall TV – Not Yet Watched

Kevin Can Wait, CBS – I love Kevin James and hope this is as good as he is, but I’m skeptical. It’ll be hard to outdo the “King of Queens” and his super successful movie career.

Speechless, ABC – I read that Minnie Driver gives a good performance in this matriarchal comedy; but I feel like she might be playing a similar role to the one in the short-lived “About a Boy.” I’ll give it a look, but don’t have high hopes.

Man with a Plan, CBS – Oh Joey, I hope this is good.  Matt Leblanc returns in this American sitcom playing Mr. Mom of all things. I really have a bad feeling about this and I hate to see the guys from “Friends” trying so hard to make a come-back. I’m sorry, but Matthew Perry in “The Odd Couple” is painful to watch, yet it’s coming back for a third season.

I’m hoping for a few surprises in my fall TV “Not Yet Watched” category…fingers crossed.

What are you watching and what shouldn’t I miss? For more TV commentary from 3Olives & a Twist, follow me on Twitter @3OlivesnaTwist.

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Poké Oh Man! – What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go in my yard

What is Pokemon Go?

Does this look familiar? Rarely am I in the loop on trending technology and this past week was no different. Pokémon GO was released on July 6th. What is Pokemon go? you ask. It’s a smartphone app where gamers attempt to catch cute little critters on screen, while out and about in the real world. I think I saw a post or two about it on Facebook, but I paid little attention. Not until Monday, when the rage hit home.

Monday morning, I drove out my usual route and saw a group of middle schoolers gathered at the local common. It’s summer, so that was no surprise. I observed every kid in the group nose to phone. Again not surprised – such a sad reflection of society today.

The Incident

I went about my day and not until dusk did Pokémon GO strike again. Just Julia and I were home and when I passed by my front door I noticed a young man, maybe 15-18, squatting down across the street. He was looking at his phone and appeared innocent enough. I saw him in the same spot 10 minutes later – I thought that was odd. I called Julia over to see if she recognized him – she didn’t. No need to panic, but I locked up just in case. Julia and I kept watch – when the guy began repeatedly walking back and forth past our house; all the while face in phone, I started to get nervous. I called Tony who said he’d head right home from a work event, then I called my neighbor down the street. Neighborhood crime watch was in effect and we decided a call to the police business line was warranted. Just as I was about to dial, I saw my neighbors from up the street on an evening stroll. By this time the “stalker” had walked slightly out of view. I frantically waved over my dear friends to alert them of the lurker. I explained the scenario and without hesitation they both said, “Oh, he’s Poké hunter.” A what?

They explained it was all part of the Pokemon Go craze, to which I promptly asked, “What is Pokemon Go?” I had not idea what they were talking about. Now, however, I notice every Pokémon player I pass. Soon enough I became aware of the pros, but mostly cons of this funny phenomenon.

Pros

  • Kids are getting out and exploring the world outdoors (albeit with their face in phone)
  • Kids are banding together in the spirit of fun and games (albeit with their face in phone)
  • Kids are actively combating summer boredom all on their own (albeit with their face in phone)

Cons

  • Kids’ faces are still in their phones
  • Kids aren’t watching where they are going – They are crashing their bikes and I almost ran over a boy who stepped into the road without bothering to look up.
  • It’s dangerous – phone locations are being tracked. In some cases players are being lured into very precarious situations. Just yesterday, this article came out in the Wall Street Journal.
  • If you’re not careful, crazy moms, like me, will call the cops on you because you’re loitering suspiciously outside our homes.
  • Finally, it’s a quick drain on your phone’s battery.

In the end

While it seems the cons outweigh the pros, I don’t discount this new age of game play, but as a mom I would like to see the safety kinks worked out before I say go ahead, “Catch ‘em all.

 

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Reality TV – Forcing the Drama

Reality TV- put on the boxing gloves

 

Bring out the boxing gloves, “The Real Housewives” are on. I’m not going to lie, I love Reality TV. Many don’t like to admit this, but I don’t mind putting it out there for all to judge. Nine times out of ten, when I mention the shows I watch, others reveal they watch too. I’ve been people watching my entire life, so this attraction seems a natural extension of the habit. It all began in the early 90s when I got hooked on MTV’s “The Real World.” I was fascinated by this peek into the personal lives of random strangers.

Now reality television is everywhere and while I still watch, even I can admit that it has taken an ugly turn. I always say, “I can’t watch this trash anymore,” yet week after week I get sucked back in. Recently, I identified what I feel is Reality TV’s biggest issue – among so many other problems. The shows’ producers and stars have allowed the success of some pivotal reality moments to influence each future season, episode and scene. By this I mean; the big arguments that have previously shocked unsuspecting viewers and skyrocketed ratings have now become the standard by which all scenes are measured.

Epic moments like “Real Housewives of New Jersey’s,” Teresa Giudice’s, table flipping incident nearly seemed real. As if it might’ve happened even if the cameras weren’t there. But now, similar attempts for shock value fall short because they are so obviously forced.

Let’s take this latest season of “Real Housewives of New York.” Every episode now includes some element of an ongoing argument between Luann de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel. I thought Luann was the classy countess, but it’s apparent she’s creating drama for the sake of airtime. Nobody enters a party, restaurant or public place to expressly pull aside the person with whom you have a major beef, to discuss the very thing you are pissed off about.

 “Real Housewives of New York” minus Bethenny Frankel. Luann looks ready to fight-again!

 

But these ladies do it all the time and it’s what Reality TV has become – one big, shameful fight after another. And it’s not just the housewives, although they really seem to have it mastered. My newest reality favorite, “Southern Charm,” just had the most ridiculous dinner party brawl in which everyone was kicked out before the salads were served. Come on people! You’re supposed to be “ladies and gentlemen” of the south. Hardly!

If nothing else, these contentious themes are boring because they are rehashing the same argument over and over again throughout an entire season.

Let’s really get real and show the truly interesting aspects of reality. They still exist; you just have to go deeper than the manufactured fights and drunken outbursts that have become the focus.

Are you a Reality TV watcher? What do you think about all the drama?

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New to Instagram – Sharing, Learning and Getting Inspired

Instagram photo - Mother Day flowers in shades of pink
Pretty in Pink – a view from above.

 

The fact that I have an active Instagram account is nearly as shocking to me as it is to my daughters.

For the most part, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to technology today.  There was a time, oh so long ago, when I might’ve said that my technical skills verged on savvy. Yes, two kids and 15 years later, I’m in the elite group of folks, 40 and over, who don’t have a clue about social media.

When it was suggested I start “Instagramming” for 3 Olives & a Twist, I burst out laughing at the thought. I can barely manage Facebook and this blog. How in the world could I possibly handle Instagram? What would I post? My mind immediately went to selfies – NO, just NO!

Being new to Instagram, I quickly learned that this photo-sharing application is actually much more than selfies and the seemingly popular “look down at your shoes” shot. Here’s one…

white shoes stepping on wood
There are a lot of these on Instagram – I don’t get it.

 

In fact, it is full of amazing imagery, as long as you know what to look for.

The Beauty of Instagram

I’m a very visual person and I love pictures – when I began searching hashtags of interest, I stumbled upon a veritable feast for my eyes. Stunning photos of food, interior design, architecture, landscape, botanicals, travel and, of course, cute pups have all stopped me long enough to warrant a [icon name=”heart” class=”” unprefixed_class=””].

Many photos are posted by professional photographers. I marvel at their talent and eye for interesting subjects and have begun to draw inspiration from what I see. As much as I struggle to take a decent picture, Instagram has actually helped me with angle ideas, filters and cropping options.

The simplicity of Instagram is also appealing. There aren’t a lot of buttons to tap and interaction is as little or as much as you want it to be. I’ve found myself mentally transported to beautiful countries through posts from all over the world. It has opened my eyes in many ways and when something questionable pops ups, I shut those eyes tight and quickly move on.

At the end of the day, I’m having fun with Instagram. It has become a tool in fueling my creative energy.

Instagram and Me

On behalf of the blog, I try to post things to the 3 Olives & a Twist Instagram that make me feel good. I love pictures of dogs, shoes, jewelry and just yesterday, I posted a pic of two lovely frozen margaritas in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! #picoftheday #lifestyleblogger #cincodemayo #celebrate #cheers

A photo posted by 3 Olives & a Twist (@3olivesandatwist) on


Though I’m still new to Instagram, with each picture I take and post, I’m learning. Learning to take a better photo, learning how to use social media in a way that is not scary to me and learning that, indeed, an old dog can learn new tricks.

Today my #picoftheday is something that always makes me happy… flowers. I hope you enjoy the image and thank you to my wonderful family for sending me my Mother’s Day bouquet early.

Follow 3OlivesandaTwist on Instagram for more photos. If you love pictures like I love pictures, you too may find Instagram to be a fun place to share.

Do you Instagram?

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