Artifical Intelligence, i.e. ChatGPT

I’m a writer and this is scary stuff.

I’ve seen a number of discussions among fellow writers about the new artificial intelligence aps, and most of the comments have been, shall we say, negative. Not really understanding the whole gist, I decided to try it out for myself. So, the way this ap works is, you ask a question and it generates a response. I asked it, what are ways to avoid or overcome cabin fever in the winter, and this is what it said:

Winter cabin fever is a common condition that is caused by being cooped up inside for long periods of time due to cold weather. Here are a few ways to overcome cabin fever during the winter months:

  1. Get outside: Even if it’s cold, it’s important to get outside for some fresh air and exercise. Going for a walk, run or hike can help to boost your mood and energy levels.
  2. Stay active: Try to stay physically active during the winter months. You can try indoor activities such as yoga, home workout, dancing, or even take an online class.
  3. Stay connected: Social isolation can worsen cabin fever. Reach out to friends, family, or co-workers by phone, email, or video chat. Join a virtual book club, or game night, or start a conversation in a social media group.
  4. Indoor hobbies: Take up a new hobby or revisit an old one. Consider painting, knitting, reading, writing, or puzzles.
  5. Get organized: Use the extra time indoors to declutter and reorganize your home, it can give you a sense of accomplishment and improve your mood.
  6. Light therapy: During the shorter days of winter, you may not be getting enough natural light. Try using a lightbox or going outside during the day to get some sunlight.
  7. Seek professional help: If cabin fever is affecting your daily life and mental health, seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can help you to manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. So, try different strategies and find what works best for you.

Wow … is it time to start looking for another job?

Finally!!!!!

Spare

Yep, I bought it. First day out and off I trotted to my local Barnes & Noble. I didn’t even want to wait for the Amazon 2-day delivery (?) so I paid $5 extra.

Yep, I am fascinated by the royals. I was obsessed with Princess Diana and crushed when she died, as was the rest of the world. And like the rest of the world, I watched Harry and Willy as they emerged from awkwardness into handsome and talented young men.

However, Will never did much for me. I think he is boring. On the other hand, he chose a gorgeous and wonderful woman as his wife, and now there is the fascination of watching their adorable children grow up.

Harry – he is not boring. He has entertained and horrified with his antics throughout the years, but who can forget the little boy walking behind his mother’s coffin. Is there any doubt why he became the Windsor wild child?

Then along came Meg. Beautiful, brilliant Meg. The nemesis of the royal family, but the woman Harry loves and married. The woman who has been slayed by every British rag as well as her staff in the royal palace.

Quora. Do any of you subscribe to it? It has many excellent attributes and is credited with being a grassroots, authentic research tool. However, I’ve checked in on discussions about the royals, and am appalled at what is said about Meg. Most of the posts are unbelievably vicious and cruel, and these are from people who have never met her!

Anyway, my point here is that I am salivating to get into the nitty-gritty of this book for the truth of what really happened to Harry and Meg.

So, You Want to Volunteer with Animals?

Part 1: Animal Shelters

The New Year is when many of us take stock and think about goals for the upcoming year. Volunteering is often one of those goals. For those of you who love animals, perhaps you want to pursue finding something you can do to donate your time and energy for them. One place where volunteering help for animals is in dire need is animal shelters.

The number of surrendered or stray animals in animal shelters is heartbreaking, with some estimates as high as 6.1 million pets entering shelters each year. Unfortunately, there is never enough staff to give these animals the extras they sorely need, and that’s where volunteers come in. The duties for volunteering in a shelter range from administrative tasks to many different kinds of hands-on activities with the animals. More specifically, here are some things shelter volunteers do:

  • Cuddle with cats, kittens, dogs and puppies
  • Walk, play with, or run with dogs
  • Keep track of an animal’s needs and behavior after working with it
  • Clean cages
  • Take animals to vet appoints or adoption events
  • Take pet photos
  • Write pet bios
  • Talk to potential adopters about a specific pet
  • Lead tours through the facility
  • Do laundry for pet bedding
  • Perform basic care for wounds or other medical issues
  • Participate in fund raising events
  • Train new volunteers
  • Read to animals

And this list is not all! Depending on the facility management, there may be other duties.

My next post will talk about volunteering by being a foster home.

Dash the Dashing Scholar

It’s almost been a year since we got ‘cha, Dash! And in that year you have slithered your way into my heart of hearts with your warm affection and inane antics. You have awakened our otherwise sometimes dim and dull household into a veritable circus!

Case in point. Notice the book in the picture? This is the second time I have found one of my books in his bed. He truly looks like he’s cozied up for a long afternoon of reading.

But books aren’t the only odd thing Dash absconds with. Have you ever seen a dog scamper off with an attachment for the vacuuming machine? Or an errant toothbrush? The scariest object of theft was when he came prancing into the living room with a razor sticking out of both sides of his mouth.

It is most fortunate that Dash allows me to pry open (sort of) his mouth to remove his found treasures, and doubly fortunate that no damage has been thusly done.

New Year’s Resolution for Mom — put things away and up high! (Dash can jump in the bathtub and grab whatever is on the tub). New Year’s Resolution for Dash — stop being so cute when you steal something.

The Rotisserie Chicken Rodeo

My reverie of rotisserie chickens goes back many moons when I was on the cusp of giving up my vegetarianism and the smell of rotisserie chickens roasting away in Wegmans pushed me over the edge.

Ever since then I have been addicted to the rotisserie chickens from Wegmans. They were juicy on the inside and pleasingly crunchy on the outside and I relished feasting on at least one every week. In short order, they became my favorite food.

These little epicurean treasures were just $4.99 – a very economical choice as one chicken afforded me at least two or three meals.

However, little by little, the chickens got smaller and the taste not as good. Then, one day and out of the proverbial blue, the price of what had become ridiculously little birds rose to $9.99!

Goodbye Wegmans rotisserie chickens.

Rabblerouser that I can be, I started a thread on a social media site about the outrageousness of the new price on the Wegmans chickens. Many people hopped on my bandwagon with comments containing similar outrage as well as suggestions for alternatives. It became apparent that rotisserie chickens were a sought-after staple for many besides me.

Hello B.J.s.

Yep, my alternative of choice became B.J.s where the birds were twice as big and ten times juicier, for just $4.99. However, along with this came the rotisserie chicken rodeo.

The word evidently got out, because the rotisserie chicken tray was often empty, and a hoard of people was gathered around it and the oven that was in the process of roasting the beautiful birds that find their way into the tray. When the bell signaled the chickens were done, the crowd of people that had gathered to wait for a chicken, or two or three, began to crush forward. Elbows found stomachs, bodies pushed into other bodies, and some outright butted in front of others. It became a rodeo stampede. All of this for a (delicious) $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

So, the moral of this story is, go to Aldis, buy a chicken, take it home, and roast it yourself.

Social Media Viciousness

Several weeks ago, I was given a writing assignment to look at the Quora social media app, and in doing so, I signed up for an account. I am now getting daily digests as a result. The way it works on Quora is that you pose a question that anyone can then answer.

I am astounded and frightened by the many mean, vicious, and downright cruel people in this world, and they abound on social media. Here are some examples of what I mean. The following threads are about Meghan as in Meghan and Harry.

This is a response to the question:

Do you think Prince Harry regrets marrying Meghan Markle?

He is too naive to regret marrying her! She has bewitched him! If you see him with his brother and father and granny and apl members of his family before meeting her, he was perfectly fine. She convinced him he has all these issues and by the way there is no way in hell that Miss Manipulator was suicidal, she really should get an Oscar for that great acting!!! and PLEASE!! when she tried to say she knew nothing about the ROYAL FAMILY before meeting Harry I almost threw up in my mouth! 😂😂😂🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️WOW what an actress! she sure missed her calling!!! All I can say is…Lady leave Harry and the kids, let them go back to his family and you go on your little merry way back to Hollywood, you homewrecker golddigger! 🤮 you make me sick. You and Oprah are so phony! 🤮🤮🤮🤮😡

And here’s another response to the same question:

Of course I’ve never had a personal conversation with him, but the photos, the body language and most of all, the sadness in his face show me (whether or not anybody else) that he does regret making such a huge mistake, alienating his entire family, perhaps allowing her to fake 2 children of all things. I think Harry has about had enough, but I don’t believe he’s brave enough or strong enough to walk away and apply for a divorce. He must truly feel that by not acting like a decent human being and allowing his wife to tell the obvious lies she told on National tv, he has ruined the love the entire nation had for him. I’ve never seen one person throw away absolutely everything just for a person that they KNOW is a user, a liar, a troublemaker, a leech and a money hungry, grubby never was. I feel somewhat sorry for Harry; I continue to see the sad little boy looking so lost among all the flowers laid for his beloved Mother. William was just as hurt, but perhaps better able to cope; again, I’m not an expert on him. Nevertheless lm afraid that Harry will never be able to find his place again in the RF; nobody is going to ever trust him again. He’s going to be a thorn in William’s side forever, I’m afraid. Harry will drift aimlessly for the rest of his life wondering what happened and what went so wrong. Will he blame everybody but himself? That remains to be seen. Let’s all hope so as none of us ever want to see him go thru this again !

I cannot wrap my head around how these people are coming up with their comments! What kind of inside information do they have or are we talking good (scary) imaginations? What has Meghan possibly done to them? Indeed, there is a significant trend diverting lots of bitterness toward Meghan.

On the Other Hand!

However, in fairness to Quora, there is some very good information that does not contain the vitriol shown above. Here’s an example.

Have you ever seen an animal do something heroic?

My mom was dying from liver failure and I wanted her to be able to say goodbye to my horse. I brought her out to the stable in a car then drove her to the stall. She could get out and get into a wheelchair on her own. I told the horse to be calm, to be nice and not to move. I put a small flat wide feed tub like 14″ around on my mom’s lap with yummy treats.

My horse just rested his gigantic head against her face and blew his warm breathe into her lap. It was like he knew how fragile she was, that she was just terribly, terribly sick. I was so ready to step in to protect her from him, but I never needed to.

He was a 17.1hh 1300 lb ex-racehorse (they call them OTTB) and he was normally quite fast and unsafe. He threw 8 people in the 17 years I owned him before he died. So it was a miracle that he was perfectly still and gentle touching her for such a long time. She just rested her face against him. I couldn’t have been more proud of him. He had always been loving with me, and perfectly good natured but I was genuinely shocked that he seemed to understand completely what he should do.

She said “Oh course he was lovey, he loves me”. I just smiled and tried to hide the fact that I was crying happy tears.

Talk about extremes, eh?

Some would advise me to dump Quora. I’m not going to dump Quora because there are truly spiritual and caring gems, as well as solid content, sprinkled within. Likewise, as of now, there are other social sites I sometimes think of deleting, but instead, I am deleting the trolls and ogres and sending positive energy into the universe, instead.

When the Trail Gives Way to Progress

The smells of oiled leather, the mustiness of a sweaty horse, and the fresh alfalfa hay bales stacked in the loft. The sounds of saddles being slapped on a horse’s back, hooves slowly plodding down a path, and birds and crickets with competing voices. The sights of pure, virgin land – weed-wild fields and untended forests, horses grazing in lush green pastures, and turkey vultures circling overhead, laying claim to some dead creature.

Unforgettable rides, tromping through spring mud, enjoying the shade of summer rides in the woods, crunching red and yellow leaves underfoot in fall, and being dazzled by a hundred million glittering sparkles during the magic of winter in the saddle.  

All this and more were my spiritual and sensual experience of the barn, of riding my horse, of overcoming fears, of perfecting saddle-born skills, of being.

But now? We’re old. The barn is old. My horse is old, and though to say it makes me cringe, I, too, am old.  My horse, Buzzy, is 30. I will not say how old I am. Buzzy is blind and my balance sucks, so our days together in the saddle are done. Still, I go out at least once a week and feed him a bag of carrots. He loves his carrots and I love feeding them to him. He licks my hand when we are done.

However, now as I drive out to the barn where Buzzy lives cozily, I am appalled at the raping of the beautiful fields and woods we used to ride through. They are gone, replaced by ugly half-finished monstrosities of buildings, and the monster machines that are making them. They call this progress.

I am glad I’m old.

A Case for Cursive Writing

When I was in my Catholic elementary school, we all took great pride in seeking to have the prettiest cursive writing in the class. Much to my chagrin, I was not one of those writers. Don’t get me wrong, I loved learning and writing in cursive, but I just did not have manual dexterity to craft the model handwriting as did some of my fellow students.

Crappy handwriting or not, I now write in cursive every single day in my journal. I am fanatical about the Zen mental state and hand and finger dexterity it affords me, and I far prefer my pen and paper to tapping away on a keyboard to share my innermost thoughts.

However: Enter keyboards, smart phones, tablets. Exit: cursive handwriting.

Courtesy of the Common Core State Standards of 2010, which set out guidelines for K-12 education in English language, arts, and mathematics, schools were no longer required to teach cursive handwriting. Why? Because the powers that be decided that future communication would take place digitally, not by hand. However, some states have issued statutes making the teaching of cursive handwriting mandatory – yay! These states include Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia, California, Florida, and North Carolina.

Bravo to these states because our historical documents, as in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, are written in cursive. Kids who are not taught cursive will not be able to read it, or anything else that is written in beautiful, handwritten script. And kids who don’t know cursive will not have a signature: could they be on the verge of identifying themselves with numbers?

Would you believe (of course you would) that in this day of rampant conspiracy theories that a widely seen TikTok video promoted the idea that cursive writing was dying so people could not read the bedrock of our democracy documents and therefore understand their rights? Phooey. Says Reuter Fact Check:

Although it is not part of the Common Core State Standards guidance, each state and U.S. territory can choose whether to teach cursive writing. Versions of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are widely available online and in print in a variety of formats and fonts.

So, boys, girls, men, and women, the moral of this story is to not believe what you see on TikTok, or any other social media platform; rather, pick up that pen, buy yourself a Moleskin pad, and write away to your heart’s content.

When You’re Old, Gray, and They Try to Suck Your Blood (and succeed)

Fact – this 90+ y/o couple lives in this senior apartment place where they pay $7000 month. Yes, I gulped, wide-eyed when I heard that. This does not include food, garbage removal, or cleaning. It also does not include help, as in with mobility issues or situations that just plain require the assistance of a kind human being.

Last night, the female of this said couple, who recently got a motorized wheelchair and who is also suffering from quick onset dementia, rammed her chair into something on the way back from the dining room, which resulted in her leg tearing open with blood gushing out all over.

It was fortuitous that my son and his wife were there, who then ran into their respective bathrooms to get paper towels to futilely attempt to stem the flow, mostly unsuccessfully. Would you believe that no one from the staff, several of whom were nearby and saw the episode, offered to help. This for people who are paying $7000 per month.

%d bloggers like this: