Dell's Canadian Tails

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dell on Getting It

Blogging is actually quite enjoyable this time around. Last year I tried to blog on farming. After a month my grand-daughter, Shelley, informed me that my bounce rate was ridiculously high.

"Either there are too many similar blogs, Grampa, or you're not able to find your niche followers. A high bounce rate is basically your potential follower saying, "I came, I saw, I fu**ed off!""

I knew she was trying to tell me nicely that my blog wasn't very interesting.

Taking a five month breather, I returned to blogging to find a whole new set of tools available. I must have learned more than I realized last year because I had retained enough basic skills to adapt to the changes. I was definitely getting it.

Now, I want to take a pause here and share a little wisdom I've picked up along life's way: if a person stops to worry about getting it, chances are he isn't going to have the same experience as the person who is willing to jump in, both feet, and have a little fun. Computers and the internet are not rocket science: my only advantage, in the beginning, was I knew how to use the keyboard from having typed years ago. Ten year olds teach themselves this stuff and do an easy 20 words a minute.

Even the original keyboard I used has changed. Shelley brought me one of those wireless ergonomic Microsoft keyboards:  takes some getting used to, but I find my hands don't tire as quickly as they did with the older style. Once again, I was getting it.
You should have seen me learning to use the little ball type mouse on the lap-top when Shelley took my hard drive away for an upgrade. She said it would be no problem to hook up a mouse for the lap-top, but I thought if this was something that might be around a bit, I had best try to get the hang of it. [you have my word I shall never twitter or tweet]. I felt I should at least try the little rolling ball. If I found I wasn't getting it, well then I'd go back to the more comfortable method.
The first few days, I was all over the place, clicking on things I didn't want to click on, having to close out things that opened on their own. I just made sure to click the little x in the upper right hand corner and things went away. The lap-top keyboard was just different enough to be a challenge, too: got it, no problem.

My worst mistake happened not long after Shelley brought my hard drive back. I typed in a wrong letter or something and up popped one of those porno web pages.

I found myself looking at the biggest breasts I had ever seen [not completely natural looking, either]; all sorts of boxes started to pop up, asking what I wanted. What I wanted? I wanted the breasts to go away. I clicked Yes, No and x'd everything out and still the breasts were there.
Not getting it, was not an option. If I couldn't figure this out, I was going to have to call my grand-daughter Shelley and confess. So I shut off the computer and restarted it. Breasts! I unplugged the whole shooting match, disconnected and reconnected all the cords, did a manual start-up: breasts!

Shelley finally drove all the way out from town to fix it, saying a single keystroke error shouldn't normally lead to a porno page. Then she gave me a refresher course on how to reset my home page, explaining that many downloads and some sites will sneak in a question along the lines of do you want to make this your home page?

"They're trying to be in your face about advertising Grampa, but that site was over the top."

I couldn't remember a top, just those huge breasts. Even if you had a top over them, they still would have advertised the whole works.
"Always click No, Grampa, and you won't have any more problems checking out bopping breasts! "

The lesson is this: If I had let those breasts intimidate me, I would have missed out on the most fun an old person can have these days.

My advice to the senior: Not getting it isn't nearly as important as giving it a good go.

Dell on Seniors & Dogs: Naming the Puppy

My dogs are still hurting: my feet, that is. My UK second cousin would say, "My dogs are barking!"

Having those dogs on my mind, naturally got me thinking about the many great dogs I've known. Seniors often decide to give up keeping a dog once they stop driving. Who is going to want hair all over their car when you have to take the dog somewhere? What if you have to be hospitalized? What if you die? Who will take over the pet's care? My thought on that subject is this: if you cannot manage to keep a pet, make sure you have at least one you are seriously attached to among your friends or family. There is nothing like a dog to make a human a better person.

My grand-daughter, Shelley, is my wheels these days and her dog is as welcome as she is, here at camp. When Shelley first showed up with her dog it was just six weeks old, solid black with a tiny white star on the chest. He was the product of a pure lab bitch caught, as my mother would have said,  before her spaying date with the vet. This inexperienced lab bitch had nine pups, its owner told Shelley the day after they were born.

"Is there a runt?" Shelley had asked.

Shelley is so much like my sister Elaine: she's got this soft spot for the underdog. No matter what's up for grabs, whatever is left, after everyone's had their pick...why, that will be the very thing Shelley will pick right off the git go. And, yes, there was a runt: being hand fed by the owner's daughter. The lab bitch had plenty enough teats and milk. The problem was the stronger pups wouldn't let this one at mother's milk.

Now, I'll take a step back here and explain something about Shelley's childhood and dogs. Her mother [gone...meaning dead...nine years ago] kept dogs: just a few mind you, Samoyeds. The thing is, the part of Shelley's mother that was broken [check out my post - Dell on Family] played out with Shelley's mother putting all her focus into those dogs, instead of young Shelley. Amazingly, my grand-daughter recognized her mother's relationship with animals was not normal.

My grand-daughter grew up around the wilderness. Shelley had no problem watching me butcher a moose or clean a partridge. Pets were different: they depended on you to survive and dogs lived to please their owner. Shelley's mother's relationship with her Samoyeds was different. Nonetheless, Shelley has a healthy relationship with animals. From observing her mother's approach to training, punishment, Shelley knew she didn't want to train the pup she planned to adopt, using her mother's methods.

Even before she got her own pup, Shelley was so excited the time Oprah had Tamar Geller on her show. Shelley went out and bought the book The Loving Dog, and then the DVD, too.

Shelley was keen to show me the pup after she picked it up. She still hadn't decided on a name for it, but she knew the criteria: something gender neutral, one syllable, strong [to make up for size, I guess].

I think it would have been about eight weeks old, a good deal smaller than a normal lab pup, when Shelley came by my town place one day to show him off. She asked if I wanted to join her doing some animal therapy up at the seniors' home. Doc Simpson had given the pup a clean bill of health and the required vaccinations, so we were good to go.

There were oohs and aahs from the residents when we set the pup amongst the walkers and wheelchairs. It's little red collar and tags jingled as it went from person to person, getting acquainted.

One very elderly gentleman, heartier than the majority there, declared, "That is one fine looking dorg you've got there." and proceeded to remark, it's a tad on the puny side, and then talked about the dorgs he'd known, gave advice on raising dorgs, asked if she had a name for this here dorg of yours, while Shelley grinned from ear to ear, smothering her laughter, lest he think she was laughing at his speech. Nothing was said until we got back to her truck and had the pup secured in the travel carrier; then we peered inside at the pup and together chorused: "Good Dorg!"

Tamar Geller's training relies on love to motivate your dog. If there's anyone who should know how to get that right, it'll be my grand-daughter, Shelley.

I'm off for a bite to eat and then a nap. I think yesterday's run to the clinic in the rain is still taking it's toll.

Dell on Identity

Slept like a log last night and woke to sunshine streaming through the trees, diamond glints of light are playing upon the lake as the water striders skate gracefully along the water beside the dock. On mornings like this, I think of those who live elsewhere and dream of the wilderness.

Twelve years ago, travelling in Germany, I heard the name Karl May [they pronounced it like MY] and managed to pick up phrases such as Winnetou [the sage chief of an Apache Tribe], and Old Shatterhand,  [Winnetou's white blood brother]. May had been writing, at the turn of the last century, for an audience eager to learn of adventures in the American west. May travelled to the United States in 1908, but never went west. His books were almost exclusively based on research. His readers, at that time, believed he was writing from experience. May had difficulty at one point separating himself from his altar ego, Winnetou. 
My German hosts had never heard of Grey Owl or Archibald Belaney, the Englishman who came to Canada and took on an Ojibway identity. The next year, 1999, saw the release of Richard Attenborough's film Grey Owl,  starring Pierce Brosnan and a very talented young actress from Quebec, Canada, Annie Galipeau, playing Pony, the young woman who convinces Grey Owl to give up trapping to write of the wilderness and promote conservation. Perhaps best known among his writings are Pilgrims of the Wild and Tales of an Empty Cabin. [My personal favourite book on his life is Ruffo's Grey Owl. ] By the time Archibald Belaney a.k.a. Grey Owl died in 1938, he had become a naturalist whose writings and speaking tours had brought attention to conservation both here and abroad. Only after his death did the newspaper The North Bay Nugget reveal what they had known for three years: Grey Owl was a British citizen named Archibald Belaney. Interestingly, the film director of  Grey Owl, Richard Attenborough and his brother David had seen Belaney speaking while he toured in Britain when they were teens: David later became a naturalist. After Belaney's death, donations to conservation projects decreased for some time, in the wake of the revelation regarding his true identity. Newspapers predicted that his life's work would survive despite the duplicity, and in this they were correct. The writings of Grey Owl continue to inspire and his home in Hastings, UK, has plaques as well as a replicated cabin attesting to his contributions. He is buried beside the cabin where he last lived, along with Pony and their daughter who died in 1984.

It would be difficult to pull off that sort of deception today; still, I believe that identity isn't the name you are born with or the place you came from. Identity is the inner spirit revealed. This morning I am going to sit on the dock and meditate on my identity. Who are you? : interesting question.