Adventures in urgent care

I'm writing this with a bit of difficulty. As you can see from the picture, I have a big-ass bandage on the ring finger of my right hand. I'm a touch typist, so I keep making mistakes with the index and middle fingers of my right hand.

The finger is not broken. Last night, I sliced the tip off it, maybe 3-4 mm across, slightly off to the side. Badly enough that I couldn't stop the bleeding. Never, never, NEVER use a mandoline without the safety device. NEVER! If you want strips of zucchini to grill, slice them manually. Do NOT think you can be careful enough to slide the courgette across the blade without your fingers becoming involved.

After I did my best staunching with four bandages on my finger, Sweetie and I cabbed over to the hospital (she doesn't drive and I was in no condition to do so myself). We arrived around 7 p.m. My timing was good, I guess. I was seen by reception right away, and then by the triage nurse only a few minutes later. Another couple of minutes and I was sitting at a window to finish some paperwork. I got my fashionable hospital bracelet, and then Sweetie and I were off to the minor injuries waiting area.

And then, before too long, I was escorted to curtains for treatment. (Curtains, waiting in chairs, triage...as Sweetie noted, I learned all my hospital jargon from watching ER years go.) The first thing they did was to take off the bandages. Ouch! I lay down holding a gauze on my finger and watches as the gauze slowly soaked through. It wasn't too much longer before a doctor came to look at the damage. He determined that he had to cauterize the wound.

I'd never felt a pain quite like that. I don't know what he was doing, because I didn't (can't) watch, but man, it hurt right through my finger and even into my pinky. I think it's because fingertips have lots of nerves, which is usually a good thing. At one point I let out a rather loud "son of a BITCH!" It was a funny scene in retrospect--him apologizing repeatedly for hurting me, me repeatedly saying it was OK, that I knew he was doing what he had to do, and then me apologizing repeatedly for swearing. The whole thing probably lasted only 20 seconds at most. It just felt longer.

After the cauterization, I wasn't bleeding much at all. A nurse came in to finish the job. She thought she might want to do one more bit of a different kind of cauterization, but the doc decided otherwise. We got my dancing goddess ring off that finger (expandable, happily), and then she proceeded to put on the bandage you see in the picture. The pad on the wound itself has some kind of silicon coating so it's not supposed to stick. I'll find out tomorrow when I'm allowed to take this bandage off and switch to just a regular bandage.

I was fixed up, including a tetanus shot (who ever remembers when they last had one?), and on my way by about 8:15. Everyone I dealt with was friendly and courteous, as well as efficient. I really can't say enough good things about how I was treated.

All of this came about because I presented my CareCard at reception. I will not be receiving a bill for the excellent care I received. I am insured because I pay taxes and a quarterly fee to the provincial government. Just to keep the record straight, hospitals are owned and operated by health authorities under the provincial Ministry of Health. Health care personnel outside hospitals work either for themselves or private clinics, and they bill the province for their services according to an agreed-upon free schedule. I chose my own family doctor. The government is in charge of money, but health care professionals are in change of providing care.

Some Americans are opposed to the Affordable Care Act and are upset that the Supreme Court of the United States just ruled that the act does not violate the constitution. But really, the only thing anyone should be upset about in the US is that the ACA doesn't go nearly far enough. Powerful, self-interested, private insurance companies will still have a huge say about access to care. The inherent inefficiency of such a system is still in place.

In Canada, we don't have socialized medicine. That's a canard. We have a single-payer public system, supplemented by private clinics and some private insurance for non-covered services, rather than a multiple-payer private system. It's far from a perfect system, but it's a very good system. Americans should be so lucky, but aren't yet.


Keep it real: demand more

I'm a day late (and hopefully not a dollar short) with this post. I've been too busy until now to think! But I hosted my women's wine and book club successfully, I completed Fashion Forecasting (mark still to come), and I even sent my (fiscal) year-end review to my boss. Yeah!

So let's talk about this Photoshop situation. There are some parts of the fashion industry that I cannot and will not defend, and overuse of Photoshop is one of them. I think Photoshop abuse even qualifies as anti-feminist.

You have a gorgeous young model in amazing shape. You have beautiful clothes, hair, and makeup, all styled just right. You have an experienced photographer. You have a studio or a great location. And with all that, you need Photoshop?

It's insane. It really is.

Photoshop is like the Auto-Tune of the fashion industry. In sound recording, Auto-Tune gives you pitch perfection, but the result is sterile and a bit weird. Real musicians and singers don't need Auto-Tune. And I'm talking rock and roll musicians, who might produce something far short of perfection. That's the idea. It's not supposed to be perfect. It's supposed to be real. It's supposed to be honest. That's what art is.

Fashion photography should be real too. If I were any of the professionals I mentioned above, I would be insulted to have my work "Auto-Tuned." With Photoshop, you might as well hire some hack with a camera. You're just going to "fix it in the mix" anyway. What's the point of doing all that work, creating art, if it's only going to be homogenized in the end?

Julia Bluhm asked Seventeen editor Ann Shoket to publish just one non-Photoshopped picture a month, a request that Shoket ducked. Frankly, I think we should demand more. Use Photoshop as it was intended to be used, perhaps, to fix flaws in the photography, not in the model. But don't use it to hide pores, erase skin imperfections, even shave off pounds. If Cindy Crawford was a young model now, would we ever know that she had her trademark mole?

I'm old. I look at fashion magazines for the clothes and shoes and accessories. I really don't pay attention to model "perfection." But young girls aren't battle-hardened like I am. Even if they know a photo is altered, they have a hard time looking past that. And it can cause demonstrable harm.

I think the industry should wean itself from "Auto-Tune." I imagine that if asked, most people in the industry would say they care about the health and well-being of women and especially girls. Well, time to back that up with action. You can't say one thing and do another. We all know what speaks louder.


Fabulous at any speed

In most places other than Vancouver, this past weekend was Pride Weekend. I know some people who went to Seattle for the weekend or at least for the parade on Sunday. I know what Pride is like here, and Seattle is a great city, so I'm sure it was a big, fun celebration. I have another friend who lives in San Francisco, and you know Pride is a big deal there!

I marched in a couple of Pride parades a few years back. I was doing volunteer work at Qmunity. It was fun to be out, helping to carry a banner, showing everyone who we were. I have enjoyed watching Pride parades, and I have enjoyed being in Pride parades.

There was a feature in Fashionista.com about Pride in New York City. As usual, as has been the case for decades now, it was all about dressing wild and crazy. Nora Crotty wrote: "With topless ladies, tiny pasties, sky high glitter platforms, intricate feather headdresses, and more banana hammocks than you could count, it was street style at its absolute most fabulous; self expression at its most fearless."

Well, OK. I will say that Debbie Harry looked wonderful!

Vancouver Pride is at the beinning of August, when we're more likely to have a rain-free weekend. It's also a long weekend. I've been invited to a queer party that Sunday night. This is how it's advertised:



I understand wild costumes and showing skin—for Halloween, for Mardi Gras, for Carnivale. And for Pride, still. I get it. But is it really self-expression at its most fearless? Are people in costume being their true selves? Do people normally hide their true selves?

It's a curious thing. I feel kind of bad for people if they can't be themselves at other times, in other garb. I'm always my true self. This is me, baby! Sure, I can go for costumes. Sweetie and I are thinking of going to Mardi Gras next year, and there's no way we would do that without costumes. I might even do something wilder for a gig sometime (although our singer is the focus, as she should be).

But really, I'm my true self in business clothes, in jeans and a T-shirt, in a cocktail dress, in a mini and tights, and everything in between and more. For me, that's all self-expression. Sometimes maybe even fearless! No one dresses me. I dress myself. And I always dress to communicate who I am. Showing skin or dressing as a unicorn might be fun, but it wouldn't be more "me."

Now, if I ever got invited to anything that would require an evening gown, that really would be fabulous!


Only the lonely

There's a woman I know who used to be the minister at the church I used to belong to. (That's a lot of "used to"s, I know.) She has often said or written things that make me think. I appreciate that.

Today on Facebook, she shared an article by Vancouver Sun writer Shelley Fralic called One is, indeed, the loneliest number. In it, she lamented her loneliness from living in a city and the lack of community connection she feels.

The solution favoured by my minister friend, being as she is a minister, was to find a church. Fralic was lamenting waking up on Sunday morning feeling lonely, and there's no question that Sunday morning is prime church time. The minister wrote of churches being intentional communities, meaning communities we form on purpose and for a purpose, and places where people can connect with other like-minded people across generations She implied that anyone could find one that fits.

I replied that there are intentional communities other than churches. And I would say the same to Fralic. People seem to be adept at forming communities, even in a place as notoriously isolating as Vancouver.

For some people, I'm sure a church that fit them well would be a good answer to loneliness and lack of community connection. The few years that I was a member of that church were good in a lot of ways. I met some truly fine people, and indeed people from all generations, which is not something most of us get much opportunity to do. I helped with some social justice projects and even was part of putting on an all-candidates debate. We did some cool stuff.

Before long, however, I realized that the last thing I wanted to do on a Sunday morning was to head out my door, unless perhaps to go to brunch. Even that I'm more likely to make myself. On Sundays, I sleep in a bit, not too long, but I need to catch up from being sleep-deprived (by maybe an hour a night) during the week. Every other Sunday around 10 o'clock, I speak with my mother on the phone. I relax. Unlike Fralic, I'm fortunate to have a partner with whom to spend a lazy Sunday morning. I understand very well that finding such a person later in life is difficult.

The minister also was assuming that community is the answer to loneliness and isolation for everyone. Even though I like feeling connected to something larger than myself, I find that being in large groups can actually reinforce loneliness. They can be places where you realize just how different you are and how you don't fit in, even though "on paper" it seems that you should. But what I like most is getting together with one friend or a few friends, for food or drinks or just to chat. Those are situations in which I feel most connected. Those are situations in which I can share deeply. For me, a larger group can't help but stay closer to the surface.

Large groups can, however, be helpful at allowing a lonely person to meet other people. I have close friendships that started from being part of a group. In a group, if you're lucky, you find the one or two or however many people with whom you can truly relate. And if you're really lucky, relating turns into a friendship

I think Shelley Fralic should check out Meetup.com.

Some people seem to enjoy their isolation. I find that a little strange in evolutionary terms, but humanity is diverse. And there are clearly some people for whom a larger intentional community is their favoured way of connecting. But as extroverted as I am, my best connections are more intimate.

And curiously, as extroverted as I am, my semi-pseudo-religious rituals are intensely private. So that's another reason church doesn't work for me. My rituals are one thing I share with almost no one.


Precious and few

I have been writing songs since my teens, when I first learned to play guitar. I write more when I have a band to write for, as I do now. And before this band, I had not been writing very much. So the new set of songs for a new band feels like a new start in a lot of ways.

Over the years, I've written lots of songs about love lost, love found, and love I couldn't have. Also lust. Let's not forget lust. I've written angry political songs and angry personal songs. I've even written political love songs!

The new songs cover some of the same territory, though in a different way. I'm older now. I'm in a different "head space," as we used to say. Among the songs, however, I have noticed a whole new topic: friendship. Not only friendship between women, but especially friendship between women.

In "Paralyzed," the narrator tries to help a friend who stays with an abusive partner. "Secrets" is about being a confidential, empathic listener for a friend who needs one. And in one I just wrote called "You Turned Back" (which might or might not be for the band), the narrator wants to help a friend who is giving up too easily.

I never used to write songs like this. I'm pretty sure I'll write more.

I moved to this area almost 18 years ago, and I was fairly isolated for many years after. I started to change that five or so years ago. I made connections at a couple of schools I attended, through Girls and Ladies rock camps, and through Meetup.com. Some of those connections have turned into true friendships. And there are many other people who, even though I don't spend much time with them, always make me feel that I'm someone they are happy to see. And I am happy to see them.

Part of the improvement came through changing me. I finally reached the point where I felt that I was worth being friends with. I had to both love and like myself before anyone would be a real friend to me. I also had to risk being hurt. Risk might bring hurt but also brings rewards.

I cherish my friends! They and the bond between us are very important to me. I hope they know that. I try to show them, but I imagine I don't always succeed. The great thing about real friends, though, is that they forgive you. And you forgive them. None of us is perfect, but all of us can love.

I don't necessarily think there is any great purpose to my life. I'm neither a theist nor a fatalist. But whenever I think in those terms, it seems to me that I am here to interact with other people, to be a positive force in their lives. There is hardly anything that means more to me than interaction and communication. And with friends, the interaction and communication can go deeper. I so appreciate that.

This one goes out to the ones I love.


Here and now

If you're on a dance floor and you're not dancing, you're in the way. (me)

It was a great night at the Red Room. German DJ Shantel had brought his Balkan-flavoured dance music to the club. Sweetie and I love to dance to world beat music, and Balkan is one of our favourite styles, along with Arabic, North African, and South Asian.

When I arrived shortly after 9, Lady Ra was spinning her excellent mix. I love dancing to Lady Ra, and she doesn't appear very often (at least that I know of, and I try to keep up). Sweetie was late arriving from dinner, so by the time she arrived, the set was almost over.

Next up was a belly dancer named Rahel. Rahel is an excellent dancer. She is lean for a belly dancer, but she makes up for that with her sinuous and sensual movements. We have seen belly dancers at the Red Room before. Rahel last night was one of the best.

Sigh. Somewhere in the multiverse, I am a young, pretty belly dancer with sinuous movements.

Here's what happened though. When a belly dancer performs, we all sit or stand around the edge of the dance floor. But last night, this videographer plopped a short tripod onto the floor. Uh, kinda in the way, dude. In my sight line at the very least. Another was shooting from a better location. And others were shooting as well on their various video recording devices.

At least one of the guys with the tripod was probably shooting video for Rahel. She has video recordings on her website. I get that. I'd rather that one guy not have put himself in the way and even inched forward as the performance went on, but eventually we moved to get a better view. But the people spending the whole time making video for themselves? I took a few shots for this blog. While I was doing so, I was totally out of watching the performance. I was no longer in the moment.

Video and photos don't capture a moment. They show you what you missed because you were too busy recording. And you will always have missed it.

I got back to watching quickly enough, but I really wonder about this inability simply to watch a live performance. I see it at lots of shows. I mean, if you don't feel like you are missing anything, then you don't. And if it's really more important for you to have a record of something than actually to watch it, then you do. But what a loss! There is nothing that compares to the impact of a live performance. Memories are in my head, not encoded on digital video. There are so many events in my life for which I don't have even photographs, never mind video, but I still remember them vividly, perhaps even more so because memories are all I have.

After Rahel was finished, DJ Shantel came on. His Balkan-influenced mix was wonderful! I had been having fun dancing to Lady Ra, but Shantel really put me in high gear. And there were a lot of dancers on the small floor. But there were also people standing and watching the DJ, maybe moving a little but not dancing. Yo, he's a DJ! He plays music to dance to! There's even less to watch than when you're seeing a band! But still, there were people with their eyes glued on the stage. And at least one person shooting scintillating video of a DJ spinning records.

And being in the way.


Upward slope

I live in a small city built on a slope above a major river. I live pretty much at the top of the hill, so no matter which way I ride my bicycle, I deal with slopes of some kind. The 10-mile route I've been following is a long, squashed oval that runs the length of the city, down to river level and back up. Our elevation is about 80 metres above sea level. The lowest spot on the route is about six metres. For the metrically challenged, that's a 250-foot difference, give or take.

Normally, I follow the route in a clockwise direction. It's flat, a bit down, then slightly up, then steeply down, then a bit up then a bit down (at this point, we're at the river), and then a fairly gentle up all the way home. I get a workout, but I don't kill myself.

I've been wanting to reverse the route to see how it would be. I knew the hills on the east end of the city were going to be brutal. I just didn't know how brutal!

The gentle downward gradient toward the west and then east along the river is not really much fun. There is very little work for several kilometres. Then the route is more or less flat along the part of the river near downtown. At that point, it starts to climb back up. Not too much. And then it goes down to river level again.

So I'm flying down that part, and I run into the biggest swarm of gnats I've ever encountered. Gnats plus leftover cottonwood fluff! But really, the gnats. Gnats having gnat sex (I read somewhere that's what the swarms are about). I'm amazed I got through that cloud without any tiny bugs in my eyes or nose or mouth. I'm not sure how I managed that while still keeping my eyes on the path (the route is off-road at that point). I wondered if there are bike helmets with bug netting.

After the gnats, the route starts to climb again. And then comes the supreme challenge—the hill I fly down for several blocks in the other direction. In this direction? Oh. Em. Effin. Gee. In the clockwise direction, I never stop, except when traffic requires. This time, I have to. I don't walk. I just catch my breath and start again (with no momentum, silly me). By the time I reach the top, I decide that maybe the heart disease that runs on both sides of my family, including among some female members, has come to claim me. Maybe this direction wasn't such a good idea.

There were more uphills after that really steep one, but nothing nearly as bad. No more walking, no more impending myocardial infarctions. And obviously I lived to tell the tale. But I'm thinking that going back to the other direction might be the better part of valour. I think I get an overall better workout without so much long, gentle downhill and insane uphill. This was a challenge. I almost met it. But it might be a while before I attempt it again.

At least I got only slightly misted on! It was supposed to be a rainy day. Raining now, but not on me. Win!


Si muove

A friend posted a link on Facebook from the Seattle Times called Exercise will change your life, and here's why.

The article is good, but that wasn't what really caught my attention. What did was the sentence that my friend highlighted from the article: "People internalize an image of themselves as an exerciser or not." She then asked, Which are you?

Good question.

Do I have an image of myself as an exerciser? Not really. I have an image of myself as someone who sometimes exercises. I do a set of core strengthening exercises most weekdays, which helps my back. I take a 10-mile bike ride with hills (unavoidable in this city) when the weather is nice and when I make it a priority over other things, which is not often enough. I walk to do errands around town and kid myself that it's enough exercise. When I do these errands, I walk right by my fitness centre. I haven't hit the cross-trainer in many weeks. I read an article once that joked about the person's fitness club being one of their charitable contributions. At this point, that's pretty much what our fitness club is. Not good, for any number of reasons.

Self-image isn't static. It's possible to change how one sees oneself. Years ago, I could not envision myself without a cigarette in my hand. It was just part of who I considered myself to be. But I managed to reimagine myself as a person without a cigarette. That's when I was finally able to quit smoking.

So can I reimagine myself as an exerciser? No reason why not. Which is not to say that it will be easy. I find it easier to visualize myself as being magically in great shape. But I don't have that kind of magic. If I want to make that image come true, I have to internalize the exerciser image.

Thankfully, it's going to be easy today. After yet another stretch of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation (even for these parts), it's a gorgeous day. I see a bike ride in my very near future! But tomorrow when we're back to rain and a high of 14°C? Will I walk through those gym doors? Or will I find an excuse to do something else? Better get going on that visualization!


Fashionably feminist

I have a lot of RSS feeds in Google Reader. Recently, I organized them into a concise list of five groups, plus xkcd.com (a category all its own). And there, right next to each other, are "Fashion and style" and "Feminism."

I'm not sure if they are good neighbours.

Catching the wave

Feminism is not something I've studied formally. It's something I've tried to live. I've been a feminist, meaning someone who believes in full equality of all human beings, women and men, and supports women's efforts to achieve that equality, for as long as I can remember having any kind of political consciousness. I can't imagine thinking any other way. Women are paid less than men for the same work. Women are passed over for promotions. The very fabric of society values women less than it values men. Studies have shown that both women and men have a subtle bias toward men when it comes to evaluations of credibility. All of that is not only bad for women but bad for society.

Really, I don't consider not being a feminist to be an option. Women who eschew the label baffle me.

But I wonder sometimes if I truly am a feminist, or perhaps feminist enough, or feminist in the "right" way. I read the blogs Feministe and Feministing regularly, and other feminist blogs from time to time. I see what modern feminism looks like. I'm not sure that I see myself in some of the tenets of modern feminism that are accepted uncritically. There seems to be little room for disagreement on issues such as sex work and gender identity. When something has become progressive dogma, any questioning of that dogma is seen as regressive. And I question everything.

At Feministing, I can't seem to get myself off comment moderation.

At the same time, I do not agree with a meme that made the rounds earlier in the current US presidential campaign—that feminism is all about choice. That was how Sarah Palin tried to present herself as a feminist, even though many of her choices and the things she supports are against the best interests of women. Women must have free choice, but free choice for women is not in itself necessarily feminist. There are anti-women choices that many women make.

I don't police myself very carefully. I'm a critical thinker and I'm intelligent, but I'm not an intellectual. Lots of people are way smarter than I am, at least in an academic sense. I can't live with too much self-policing. It would make me crazy. I'm a musician in particular and a creative, empathic person in general. I feel what I feel, and what I feel matters to me. Thus, I might well make choices that are, at the very least, unfeminist, if not actually anti-feminist, even though I don't intend to. But if I do make such choices, I want to know it.

Fashion backward

I am currently studying fashion merchandising. It's part of my retraining for whenever I get laid off from my software job. High tech has been very good to me, but it was never what I loved. I want to do something I love, and I'm not going to make my living playing music or making whatever little money I could make (with long hours) if I went to culinary school. Thus, I am steeped in fashion—another love of mine. I'm taking the first of what will be eight courses. I am following several blogs and sites such as StyleSight, The Business of Fashion, and Vogue.com. Sometimes I write about fashion here. My Tumblr blog long view is mostly about fashion, style, and inspiration. Watch me get sucked into Pinterest next.

I love to look my best. I love to assemble outfits. I love to find just the right pieces to go together. I am addicted to shoes. I wear makeup, usually. I wear heels, sometimes. I admire others who know how to put themselves together. I have a mad girl crush on Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Seriously, I would work for her and let her abuse me all day long. The Duchess of Cambridge in red Alexander McQueen—OK, in pretty much any outfit—makes me go squeeeee. I think it rocks that Michelle Obama is a fashionista. I think Erdem Moralioglu is brilliant (even if I can never remember how to spell his surname). I think the only good reason to watch the Oscar telecast is to see what everyone is wearing.

I intend to become a stylist. Or a fashion writer. Or something in the industry, wherever I can make a place for myself at my age with as little experience as I have.

And yet...and yet...the fashion industry is, in the favourite word of the humour blog Is This Feminist, PROBLEMATIC. It is all about rampant consumerism. It fosters impossible beauty ideals. It contributes to serious problems for girls. It tolerates the abuse of young models (I gnash my teeth every time I see that über-creep photographer Terry Richardson has shot another high-profile spread). Sometimes I have a hard time finding anything redeeming about the business.

And yet I love it. PROBLEMATIC.

Is there synthesis in the house?

You can see the conflict in the piece I wrote about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I totally upheld her right to look however she wanted. I acknowledged the double standard between women and men that should not exist. And yet I hemmed and hawed and implied that I disagreed with her choice. I agreed that it was her choice, but I did not think it was a good choice. It's one thing not to give a shit what anyone else thinks about you. It's another not to care about yourself. She still has every right to look however she wants. And I have every right to say I think it's a bad idea, especially for someone in a public position. That might be unfeminist of me, but I feel that way. I've written before that how we present ourselves to others matters, and that we can't avoid making some kind of statement, be it a stylish one or an anti-fashion one. I think some statements are better than others.

I wonder if a Hegelian dialectic is possible—if the feminist thesis and the fashion antithesis can possibly reach synthesis. There is an eco-fashion movement afoot, one that I am eager to be a part of. It's about consuming responsibly, using sustainable fabrics and production methods, supporting fair trade and fair conditions for workers. Indirectly, at least, these things help women, and work against rampant consumerism and the following of fads. I will be looking for other ways in which the fashion industry is feminist, or at the very least not anti-feminist, and maybe ways I can help it (someday, in some small way) to be more supportive of women's issues. And I might have to change my mind about a few things.

Fashion and feminism are both important to me, so I will continue writing about this issue as the spirit moves me.



Sweetie and I have a mobile phone plan together. She has had an iPhone for years, but I have always had what I affectionately referred to as a "dumbphone." My most recent phone was an LG with a slide-out keyboard that I found really handy for texting. It wasn't actually that dumb. I could have done all kinds of things with it. But since I was used to doing little more than calling and texting and taking occasional pictures, we didn't have a data plan to cover both phones.

Recently, however, our phones hit the three-year mark when Rogers lets you upgrade. Sweetie got an iPhone 4. Because I detest on-screen keyboards and wanted a real one, she got me a Blackberry Curve. I think it cost a penny. I now have a phone that's smarter than I am.

You might be saying that I should have gone fancier. I know there are other smartphones with physical keyboards. But since I've never had a smartphone before (at least not very smart), it feels fine to me to use the Booberry. I like the keyboard. I've gotten used to the little pad thing that lets you zoom around like you do with a touchscreen. I'm finding the apps.

So am I using my phone the same way as I used my LG? I am not. My LG usually stayed in my purse unless I was calling or texting. This baby is out when I'm home. I see when email has arrived. I am more attuned to the arrival of a text message. It used to be that when I was out, I unplugged. I'm constantly on either my work computer or this laptop, so when I left the house I would take a break from connectivity. On transit, I would read a book. Now I find that I'm checking Facebook or a hockey score or looking something up. It's a literary disaster!

Watch me end up with more apps and doing more stuff. I know I'm going to have to start at least one Twitter account soon, so no doubt I will be tweeting and reading tweets from my phone. If I figure out how to send a photo to my Tumblr, I will probably do that. I don't think I know anyone else on BBM—everyone is moving to iPhones or Androids—but I have a feeling some kind of IM will be in my near future. I'm pretty sure I saw a Gtalk app.

I have succumbed! I am now one of those people who puts the bloody thing on the table during dinner! I will not, however, interrupt a meal for the phone. I haven't fallen that far. Still, as connected as I already am, I find that I want to be even more connected. It's like a drug, isn't it.

If Research In Motion were to go belly up, which seems quite possible at this point, I don't know what would happen to the Booberry. I guess it would just run on the Rogers network, but without any further app updates. At any rate, I imagine my next phone three (or however many) years from now will be something way smarter than this one, and way smarter than I am. And my addiction will be kicked up another notch or two.