Monday, January 11, 2016

Alexa, my love

After we finished blessing, I looked at the small, black speaker resting on the corner of the kitchen nook and said, “Alexa, play some classical music.”

A soft, almost sexy-sounding, female voice emited from the speaker, “Classical Playlist from Prime; Classical Dreamtime,” followed by a soothing instrumental piece.

Our family talked about our day as the music played quietly in the background. My daughter reminded me she needed loose leaf paper. Again.

“Tell her,” I said, pointing at my Alexa aka Amazon’s Echo.

“Alexa, add loose leaf paper to the shopping list,” she said.

“Loose leaf paper added to your shopping list,” Alexa responded.

w w w

To say we’ve been having fun with this thing would be an understatement. Alexa is so much more than what I expected because she (did I just call it a she?) does so more than I expected. I thought it would be a replacement of my SONOS (Hifi speaker) but would have voice commands.

Heck no!

Alexa is like having the Internet at your fingertips…without using your fingertips. It’s all voice activated. So yeah, there’s plenty of room for error. 

Me:     “Alexa, add chicken breast to my shopping list.”

Alexa:     “Chicken bed added to your shopping list.”

I’m still not sure how that happened or if that was Alexa’s way of asking me to buy her a chicken coop to sleep in at night, but yeah, some kinks need to be worked out on the voice commands. Or I just need to learn to slow down and enunciate better.

She (there I go again), I mean it, it is able to set timers, alarms, access your calendar to provide updates, give sports scores and news, provide headlines, tell you your weather or traffic, play games like Jeopardy, and someone even developed a skill (similar to apps) for Star Wars trivia. And so much more!

I have to admit one of my favorite things to watch is how all of us interact with her. It. I mean it. We all can’t help but assign personal feelings toward this damn thing. Just as I’ve assigned it a female personality in my head because of the voice it emits, we’ve all managed to feel a range of emotions towards it.

And not all of these emotions are, shall I say, “normal.” It reminds me of the movie Her. On a much smaller scale of course. All of us have gotten downright angry at it because it will say, “I cannot find the answer to the question I heard” or, “I’m not quite sure how to help you with that,” when we pose a question the wrong way. On the flip side, there are games we can play against it and we are far too happy when we have a better score then it does. It’s a machine, and yet we treat it like a human sometimes. Okay, a lot of times.

But, man-oh-man, is this thing fun. And useful. Now that I have it, I use it at least a dozen times a day. For actual stuff. Not just to hear it fart. Because it can do that too. By far my favorite newest gizmo.

How about you? Do have a newest favorite gizmo?

I’ll be out of town next week so I won’t be on Blogger, but the good news is I’ll have down time to work on my self-help book. I may even have it finished! I’m gonna try anyway. So take care and be well everyone!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Starting Off With A Smile

Happy New Year! 2016. How long will it take for me to stop writing 2015? I’m guessing at least two weeks. I think that’s actually being optimistic. More like February before I’m consistently writing 2016 and not grabbing the ol’ bottle of Wite-Out.

I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a good start. Mine has been a bit rocky but I think it’s a matter of perspective. I can frame it to be complete crap or I can look at it through the lens of something more positive and that’s the view I’m choosing. Optimism.

I’ll start with the good first. My ever-patient friend, (and I think undercover angel) Bryan, sent back my self-help book. The critiques weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be.

I anticipated lots of corrections requiring major rewrites but that wasn’t the case at all. Just some suggestions on how to make it really shine. And since my wise and wonderful friend, Robyn along with my blogger buddy Donna have already read the “advicey” portion of the book; it’s almost ready for publication. Now that’s exciting news for 2016! I should have that bad boy to print in a couple of months. Yay for getting to help people soon!

The not-so-good start of the year was the discovery of Devin’s continued slips. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. Not in the slips. I don’t care about that. Really, I don’t. It’s his recovery. Not mine.

It’s the lies. Those get to me. No matter how many times I tell him how crazy-making they are, he continues to do it. The slips have been going on for a couple of months and I’ve known it. The red flags have been popping and I left it to him to come to me because it’s his job. I asked twice if he’s slipped and both times he said no.

As an addict, it’s an act of self-preservation. I understand that because I can relate from my days as an active addict. Sometimes an addict has to feel shame and remorse in the moment of acting out to stop the cycle of their addiction. And that’s what happened. I caught him in the act. He was looking at porn.

We talked it out and he figured out why he slipped. He discussed ways to prevent it from happening again and even offered to put a keylogger on his computer. While that is tempting, I don’t think it’s wise. Putting a keylogger on there leaves me responsible for checking up on him and I don’t want to be his accountability partner. If he wants to put some kind of restricter on his computer, that’s on him…not me.

So, again, I choose to frame the beginning of this year in a positive way. I’m going to focus on me. I'm going to work on my book that will help people heal from the trauma of discovering their spouse is sex addict, rather than worry about Devin and his sobriety. I think that’s a much better way to begin the New Year: with a smile on my face.

How about you? Are you starting off the New Year with a smile?