Owned by Our Pets: Gone to the Dogs (Podcast)

A pet owner’s look at pet ownership…and the obscene things we do to have them live with us.

Gone to the Dogs

[podcast]http://fragmentsfromfloyd.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Gone-to-the-dogs.mp3[/podcast]

…with musical additions from Mike Mitchell / Mike Mitchell Music (Album: Thirteen Hours | Cut: Jerusalem Ridge

Country Mice, City Phones and the Cellular Divide

CountrySmartPhones.mp3

[podcast]http://fragmentsfromfloyd.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/CountrySmartPhones.mp3[/podcast]

Visitor’s choice: read or be read to. I suggest sit back and listen!

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One of the first things I learned when I brought home my (first-ever) smart phone recently is that you can download fantastic free software applications to help you discover and navigate to the locations and happenings around you. Which is great—if there happen to be any Starbucks or rock concerts on your gravel road.

I quickly understood that these gee-whiz Dick Tracy communications devices cater heavily to big-city folks who live perpetually bombarded by wireless and GPS signals (we live in a 3G dead zone on Goose Creek) and who are far busier and more urgently in need than I am to stay oriented to the minute by minute location of Twitter pals and their proximity to snarled intersections.

Yes, rural smartphone users have been marginalized, and as one of the newest among them, I am indignant. The entire industry needs re-tooling. For starters, lets work on these little locator programs; they require a major rural redesign.

For those of us who are not of the Greater Metro Area persuasion, we demand different categories of blinking dots on our tiny maps than Sports Bars, Sushi Grills, Art Museums, Movie Megaplex and Parking Decks. We ask for the immediate inclusion of meaningful secondary-road cell phone destination categories, including but not limited to the following:

Flatfoot and Contra, Best in-Store Wood Stoves and Checkers, Antique Farm Equipment, Unplanted Roadside Gardens, Front Porch Conversations, Zany Artwork and Crafts, Feed and Seed, Nightcrawlers and Crickets, and Serve-Yourself Money-in-a-Jar Vegetable Stands.

For traffic navigation-mapping, we want audible alerts that warn us of and possibly route us around Cattle Auctions, Deer Suicide Areas, Washboard and Potholes; Flea Markets. Gun Shows, and Slow Farm Equipment in Transit (use different icons with the diagonal slash for hay wagons and logging trucks.) It would also be very helpful to prepare us well in advance for the only 200 yards of passing lane that come along unpredictably every few miles of Daniels Run and Ridgeview.

And dear Built-in Navigational Robot Voice Lady, please reference travel to our destination with appropriate rural context and language like “turn right in one quarter mile at large maple tree; exit hardtop to gravel lane and cross three creeks. Continue on for a little piece after you think for sure you must be lost.” Finally the voice tells the traveler “You have reached your destination. Honk three times and wait for signal giving permission to exit your vehicle.”

And also related: when we attempt to “Navigate” using Google speech recognition to find the home of those new acquaintances on the other side of Floyd County, recognize the input of place names “crick” and “holler” and the geographic terms of relative location “yonder” and “thereabouts”. Do not respond in your robot voice with “You have got to be kidding!” in reference to where we chose to travel to see friends. We know what we’ve doing here.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy to have all the bells and whistles of this new technology that ties me to the rest of the world. I’m just saying, we in southwest Virginia don’t live like you do—Google, Verizon and Motorola—and you have painted Mobile Humanity with too broad a brush, excluding those of us who are phone and data fee-paying rural outliers from the urban fringes and beyond.

And a quick suggestion before I hang up. If Steve Jobs outfit responds to my suggestion and manufactures a Rural Smart iPhone, it could be named the Road Apple. The city folks won’t get it. All the better.

So, future Country Phone developers, can you hear me now? Design our rural phone applications to take into account the more convivial setting here, our slower pace, smaller-pond, homey, locavore, less-consumptive way of life. In a conciliatory first step in this direction: pre-install Carter Family Ring Tones, starting with Sunny Side of Life. You know where to find me when it’s ready. Honk first, then Just come on in.

by Fred First / Fragments from Floyd / February 2010

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A Nose for Winter: Podcast

I’m still working out the kinks in making the audio files easily accessible. Note in the right sidebar is a podcast feed link, although there’s not much there yet. Got to start some place.

This piece seems fitting–although with a foot of snow on the ground, except for the distinctive smell of the cold, the aromasphere of winter remains monochrome.

This essay aired on WVTF a few years back, and is found on page 210 of What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader.

A Nose For Winter[podcast]http://fragmentsfromfloyd.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/a-nose-for-winter3.mp3[/podcast]

Words, Pixels and Sound Waves

This is a first attempt to use the podcasting capabilities of Word Press. I’d like to have a streamlined way to add audio segments a couple of times a week. It will be crude at first. This is far from finished. Meanwhile, one file uploaded, the polished front end to listen will have to wait.

This was my holiday post of 2009 which corresponded with our first decade here on Goose Creek, recorded at WVTF and broadcast 21 Dec 2009. Click the player to listen. (Will have to tweak to NOT show the file link too. Life at the shallow end of the learning curve…FF)

UPDATE: Lurching forward through the bog of unknown code and gobbledygook, I now have a PODCAST category on the blog and a feed reader link for future audio posts. (There will be a persistent podcast icon-link in the right sidebar.) I’m sinking deep in the details of getting a podcast feed to iTunes. Will be considering other “front ends” to make the feed findable, open to ideas!

This Old House Dec 09