Ooops! and Ughs! and Ows

No, I didn’t fall or anything.  I was trying to disconnect and move my Kingpad tablet from the bed table to my reader table that’s in my “knitting nook” I was trying to move it on the stand, realized the stand was under the component keyboard, and while I was sorting that out, the tablet flipped over out of the stand, bounced off my night stand and ended up on the floor.  The screen was shattered.  Kaput.  Unsalvageable.  It was only a little el cheapo off brand tablet (I think it was like $80 bucks including case and tax) that I got because it (a) had twice the screen size of my 5th generation Kindle Fire, (b) had an android OS so I could download the Kindle app to it, and clencher: (c) was WAY cheaper than the Kindle Fire that had the same screen size as the dead tablet.

The reason I bought the Kingpad tablet at all is because I read so fast.  The Kindle Fire’s 7 x 5 inch screen doesn’t display enough text (less than half an actual page at a character size large enough to see easily) to keep up with me and I end up poking the screen to turn the page, like, every 20-30 seconds, which would be fine if I only read an ebook every once in a while, as I did back when I had more space and less money and ebook was the cheapest or the only available format I could get of a book.  I could buy two to three used “dead tree” (paper) books for the price of one ebook so I went with what gave me the most bang for my bucks.  But now space is way tighter than money and I’m tending more toward ebooks, only buying a real book if I know it’s going to be a “keeper” (Foreigner series (or anything else) by C. J. Cherryh, Sebastian St. Cyr books by C. S. Harris, Liaden books by Lee and Miller, Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, Sharron Shinn, etc.)

We’re talking serious reader here.* I’m on my 80th book of 2017 right now (a reread of the penultimate October Daye book by Seanan McGuire, to refresh my memory for reading the latest book in that series, which I will probably start reading immediately after).   When you read a book at a sitting, or read for a day or two straight, all that poking gets to be a PITA**.  The tablet was 11 x 7 inches, and I could get almost a whole page on the screen at one time.   As much as I love the Kindle Fire, the 7 inch screen is just too small.  I don’t need all the bells, lights and whistles, or a gazillion GB of this and that.  An el cheapo tablet is all I need, since all I use it for is reading, listening to music (as I read) and watching the occasional YouTube videos.  For any other computer functions I need, (like blog reading or writing, creative writing, or other things that entail mousing and keyboarding, like working jigsaws) I use my desktop.

Anyway, I bought one. (and a protection plan!) My mom is going to gripe at me for spending money on something I don’t “need.” But she also doesn’t like me (wasting money) buying actual books (even though I can get multiple used paperbacks for the cost of a single ebook, which is from $10 to $30 depending on the book.) because I don’t “need” them either.  I have no space for them and end up keeping the one or two I want to reread, mailing the rest of the decent ones to my 1st cousin removed x3, which my mom also looks askance at (my 1st cousin removed x3 is a also a reader, like me, and we have similar tastes in reading matter.  I remember how hungry I was for interesting books when I was her age (13), and I’m doing some paying forward here, so I do it anyway), and donating everything else to Friends of the Library.  But when you’re on a fixed income and can read 100-140 books a year and have no space to keep them, something has to give.  Oh, and the city library in this ultraconservative, Bible-belted,  two-horse town doesn’t have the kinds of books I enjoy reading.  I know.  I’ve looked.

A little rantlet begins here:  Almost without exception, the scifi and fantasy books I read growing up had cis white male protagonists (mostly because they were mostly written by cis white males for what was assumed to be a reader audience of cis white males.)  (Even the cleverly disguised Andre Norton had to write those kind of books).  There was never a protagonist that was like me in any of the books I read, one that I could directly relate to.  Very rarely was there ever even a female character with agency, never mind a female protagonist, with or without agency. If there were any females characters at all, they were there to scream, be rescued, and patted on the hand by the strong manly white male hero. Slowly but surely, this has changed for the better.  But it has been only in the last ten or so years that books with strong female characters with agency, and books with characters who are not only non-white but non-straight have become easy to find.  Of course, there are some authors, C.J. Cherryh and the late Ann McCaffrey, to name two, that were ahead of the curve.  Reading the Morgaine trilogy in the 1970’s was for me the most incredible (and refreshingly novel) experience.  And then reading her Cyteen books.  Yowza! (No wonder Cyteen won the Hugo!)  And Ann McCaffrey’s Pern books (which are, alas, written by an author all too indoctrinated with 1950’s sexism from the perspective of a modern reader, be warned).  A female protagonist and dragons — what an unbeatable combination! Whenever I run across one of these books with a strong female protagonist with agency, and it’s a good read suitable for a 13-year-old, I put it aside for my 1st cousin removed x3.  I want her to be able to read the books that didn’t exist when I was her age, books that have protagonists she can easily relate to — women who are smart as well as intelligent, who can solve their own problems, and rescue themselves when needed.  There are a lot of attitudes in our society that need changing if we are to move forward into Human adulthood (we’re still hopelessly mired in the terrible tweens!).  I’m just doing what I can to see that one more strong, levelheaded, secure in herself, clear-eyed female will be able to join the ranks when the baton is past into her hand.  Here endeth the rantlet.

And with no segue whatever, my doctor’s visit with the orthopod yesterday went pretty much as anticipated.  The VA neglected to forward my MRI or even the doctor’s report on it.  He took his own x-rays.  Seeing my two knees side by side on the x-ray was rather disheartening.  The right knee looks perfectly normal with a normal layer of cartilage.  The left knee shows no cartilage to speak of.  Just the big leg bone grinding into the two little leg bones with no padding whatever, which is why the medial meniscus has little tears in it, because there’s also no cartilage to keep the ends of the bones steady and they’re skidding a little as they grind, chewing on the meniscus as they move.  Arthroscopic surgery is pretty pointless as it cannot address the problem of no cartilage left.  That means it’s knee replacement time, but I have to call it, as in telling the doctor that my quality of life has become intolerable, do it already.  He gave me a steroid injection in the knee (it’s been over 14 hours since with no change in pain level) and has prescribed physical therapy.  I hope the steroid lasts until Friday when I have to drive clear over to the other side of town,  hike two miles from the parking lot to the University Medical Center  building and another mile to where they do mammographies (thankfully, they don’t do mammography in Amarillo, or it would take all day and four hours on the highway to get one instead of most of a morning).  While I’m in the Radiology Department I’ll get a copy of my MRI on CD and hand-carry the stupid thing to my doctor, and bring him a copy of the report, too.

But, here’s the thing.  They have now finally managed to hire an orthopedic surgeon for the VA hospital in Amarillo.  My special dispensation to see a local doctor went through the week before they hired him or her.  If I can get this doc I’m going to now to agree to replacing my knee while I’m on clopidogrel, but before my time limit on this authorization runs out, then I think it can be done here.  If I have to wait until next March, when I can get off the clopidogrel,  or if the VA gets all bureauocratic on me, I’ll have to have it done in Amarillo and face the same damn bureaurocratic stone-walling and transportation problem I have now, or else eat what Medicare doesn’t pay.  BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

In the knitting news, I did finally write that bottom-up triangular shawl pattern. I’m not exactly content with it, but I like it well enough not to frog the lot and go back to the drawing board. The sticky bit is that shawl point. It has a knit-as-you-go edging, and that bit of edging at the pointed bit needs to be piece-of-pie shaped in order to lay right. I haven’t yet worked out to my satisfaction how to get the decrease-to-point proportions right. But, hey, that’s what I love about knitting. You never stop learning. Every new thing you make is a learning experience, and each time you make something, you add some new skill or design element to your knitting repertoire that recombines and morphs into new things, and your whole knitting thing just evolves. It’s like, “Oh, I see how that works now. The next time I do this, I’m going to change this bit, or do it differently here. . . .”

*109 books read in 2014, 151 books read in 2015, 125 books read in 2016.
**PITA – A pain similar to that of hemorrhoids.

Author: WOL

My burrow, "La Maison du Hibou Sous Terre" is located on the flatlands of West Texas where I live with my computer, my books, and a lot of yarn waiting to become something.

3 thoughts on “Ooops! and Ughs! and Ows”

  1. One of the reasons I never could connect with my Kindle was that small screen size. There wasn’t enough text per screen to make the process of reading enjoyable. I was more conscious of the process of reading than i was of the text. I always thought this was just me, but it sounds like you had something of the same experience. I don’t mind screen reading — I do quite a bit on my desktop, including journal articles and such that require page flipping. But I get whole pages at a time, or even two pages. Much better.

    The bureaucratic complexities of getting anything done in the VA system seem worse every time you write about them. There are some people here in Houston who’ve made vets of every sort their personal cause: is there any kind of an advocacy system there to help put pressure on the system? You’ve got enough pressure on that knee. You don’t need any more, sez me.


  2. I’m so very happy you are getting better, except the knee. Being familiar on the Govment Nose ring, it’s ridiculous hoop jumping.
    I loved sci fi books, and other genres, but like you, bible belt, and other restrictions in the library, I couldn’t read those. I started reading the author Sarah Maas. Are the books you are listing, similar? Just looking for other areas, and have no outside sources or bookcases to ask. To tell you how snooty our town is, we have three book clubs, BUT they are closed off to only certain people….go figure.


    1. Hi Owl….I’ve been out of sorts for ages, so just catching up. Whenever I read about all your escapades it cheers me on no end. Crikey you read 104 books at least a year! Wow!
      And may I just add…..I think you’re a marvel!! You are so resilient! Best of luck and sending good wishes for your recovery.


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