109th: Let your recreations be manful, not sinful
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
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How is Christmas celebrated around the world?
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CHRISTMAS LETTER. Once again, I've posted our Christmas letter on the Internet. It may not be as personal as holding it in your hand--but it's a lot prettier on the net!
A HOLLY, JOLLY CHRISTMAS
14 December 2004
Some time ago, before I went to Australia, I got myself a Palm Pilot, with the idea that I would use it for entertainment on the plane and to take notes when Peggy and I traveled so I could later keep up my journal when we got back to the house.
I took it with me, but it turned out that Peggy's friend Monty had given us a laptop to use whenever we were out of Perth, and so I never did use the Palm.
I've come across a couple of journalers who have been extollling the joys of the Palm and the magical things it can do and so I've been playing around some more--and my word, was I missing out on things.
I now have photos loaded onto my Palm. Don't ask me what kind of dog Sheila is, or I'll whip out my Palm and give you a slide show of her cute face.
Don't ask me how old my kids are, or you'll get the family slide show. Who knew it could do all this?
I can drag myself away from playing Text Twist on the computer to join Walt in the family room to listen to "Says You" on the radio--and continue to play Text Twist on the Palm.
But best of all, someone just told me how I can download books to the Palm. I don't know that I'm going to like reading "books" on this little screen, but it has many advantages--it automatically keeps my place, so I don't have to worry about losing my bookmark or folding over the corners of a book page; it is much smaller than some of the books that I read, so it fits easily in my purse, no matter how long the book is; and best of all, I no longer have to worry about available light, because I can increase the light on the Palm so I can even read in the dark.
Today I found a site when you can download books for free. You won't get DaVinci Code or Patricia Cornwell's latest, but you can get lots of cool stuff by Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain or Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as a bazillion others.
This is my big chance to read Beowulf (but I won't!).
I dunno--there's something about reading Beowulf, a book written in about 1100 AD, on an electronic gizmo. Too much contrast there!
No, most of the free books have either long since passed beyond copyright infringements, or are books you'd not be likely to find on the Barnes and Noble bookshelves (who the heck is Maxwell Grant and why was he so prolific??)
I probably won't download a "Dictionary of Street Drug Slang Terms" or a Latin-to-German Dictionary.
However, I could get things by Chaucer, Raballaise and Balzac, if I were so inclined.
Anyway, I'm like a kid in a candy store going through all of these free titles I can download to this little thing I hold in my hand.
I chose three to start with. There is a book on tale of travels in Australia (in case I want to ever write my own book of tales of travels in Australia--I figured that it would be good to get the feel for travel writing style), Mark Twain's "Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson," and "An Oscar Wilde Reader," which includes "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," "De Profundis," "Oscar Wilde, His life and Confessions" and a few Epigrams. That should keep me amused while I'm standing in line at the post office waiting to creep forward to buy Christmas stamps.
(I've actually wanted to read "Ballad of Reading Gaol" ever since we cruised through Reading on our canal boat cruise up the Thames a couple of years ago.)
There is one danger, of course. I used the Palm before to set alarms for myself, and I continue to do that--it's so loud, I can hear it in my purse on the other side of the room while I'm sitting at the computer with earphones in my ears and the sound of the psychiatrist's voice droning on and one.
BUT, you can't shut it OFF. It has an auto shut-off, but it continues to hold the time and when it reaches an alarm point, it turns itself back on again. This could become embarrassing if I should inadvertently set a reminder that comes in the middle of some theatrical production!
I could embarrass myself like the time I kicked a zebra hanging on the outside of my purse during a very intense moment in a one-woman show and set the thing to whinnying--a sound that couldn't be stopped until it had whinnied three times.
Anyway, I'm having a great time re-discovering old things and discovering new uses for this thing now that I don't need it to keep myself busy on any 30+ hour flight.
Who needs Christmas presents?
PHOTO OF THE DAY