Oh hAPPy day!

You know how technology makes everything smaller? Devices like cameras and laptop computers and MP3 players keep shrinking in size, right? There is one exception to that trend: cellphones. This became obvious to me on Friday, when I picked up a new phone. My contract with Sprint was about to expire, and the way they throw instant rebates at you these days to keep you as a customer, you can walk away with a new phone that is free (or nearly so). Well, I’ve been dying to join the smartphone revolution for over a year now, so when the opportunity to grab one for next to nothing arose, I pounced. And walked away with a shiny new HTC Evo 4G. It is everything I hoped for, and more! But definitely larger than my last few phones. In fact, each one has gotten a little bit bigger than its predecessor.

My cell phones keep getting bigger and bigger...

At this rate, I’ll be carrying around something the size of a refrigerator in 30 years or so. But oh, the things that phone will be able to do!

(TVs are also getting bigger. But slimmer, too).

So, back to my phone. I am seriously loving it. There’s pretty much nothing this baby can’t do. OK, it can’t cook me dinner…but there’s an app for that! No, really, there is. It’s called Digital Recipe Sidekick and, while it won’t actually dice onions or stir the pot, it syncs with your favorite recipes and gives you step-by-step directions. There’s an app for everything, it turns out, and I’ve gone a bit app happy these past couple of days. Sure, I’ve downloaded Angry Birds, like about 3 billion other folks have. But I’m not just talking games. I can now do all of the following, right from my phone:

  • Scan barcodes and find out the lowest prices in my neighborhood. (Barcode Scanner).
  • Hold my phone up to any music source, click a button, and find out the name of the song and artist. Even if I’m in an elevator or grocery store. (Shazam).
  • Aim my phone at the night sky, click a button, and learn which constellation or star I’m looking at. (Google Sky Map).
  • Take a picture of a landmark or object and find out information about it. (Google Goggles).
  • Create a shopping list by scanning in items from my pantry. (Out Of Milk).
  • Launch an “augmented reality” browser that displays hidden layers of the world around me. (Layar).

Those are some of the cooler apps I’ve found, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. I am able to download music from my iTunes playlists wirelessly (even though I’ve got an Android). Update Facebook statuses on the go, check e-mail from anywhere, Tweet to my heart’s content, listen to Pandora radio, read a Kindle book, take pictures with the built-in 8 megapixel camera that includes zoom and flash features, get step-by-step driving directions with the GPS feature, use my device as a flashlight (or a disco strobe), record videos and upload to You Tube, etc. Rumor has it I can even make a phone call if I want to.

I kind of feel like Christopher Columbus, discovering strange and exotic new worlds every day. Half the fun is in the exploration. And I can’t help but wonder what they’ll come up with next. The sky truly is the limit with these apps. I’ve owned my Evo less than three days, and already I’m wondering how I ever lived without it. Funny how that works. If you’ve got a great Android app you can’t live without, please share it with me. Thank you.

Ditching the smartphone talk…

It feels like this weekend went by in a blur. Saturday I drove around looking for garage sales, but there weren’t very many to be found. The calendar says May, but the weather has yet to cooperate, aside from a few random sunny and warm days here and there. It’s like people are still hunkered down for winter. Ditching that idea, I decided to hit the local farmer’s market for the first time this season, but there wasn’t much action going on down there either, unless you’re a fan of asparagus. There was plenty of that to be found. I stopped by my favorite olive booth (how weird does that sound?) and the proprietor basically dared me to try a habanero stuffed green olive. Never one to back down from a challenge – especially when my very manhood is at stake – I looked the sucker in the eye and happily obliged. 45 minutes later, my mouth was still on fire. And I like spicy foods!

Note to self: habanero peppers are at the threshold of what you can tolerate.

After the farmer’s market I hit up the liquor store. (Hit up, not held up – just to be clear on that point). Unconscionably, I had run out of rum! I’m not sure how I allowed that to happen, but naturally I had to rectify the situation. Plus, I had just watched Arthur the night before. The original, with Dudley Moore. I found his alcoholic character oddly charming and very funny, so it might be that I was inspired. In addition to the rum (whew! crisis alerted!), I grabbed a bottle of Firefly Sweet Tea Lemonade Vodka. I’d heard good things about the stuff, and it was priced at half-off. Plus, I love FireflyThe cashier was raving over it and informing me that, sadly, they are discontinuing that brand due to poor sales. I tried it last night and I’m definitely a fan.

I made myself dinner and watched a Netflix film (nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars) called Exit Through The Gift Shop. It was allegedly about this street artist named Banksy but was really about the guy following him around with a camera. This dude had no – and I mean zero – experience as an artist, yet he held an art show in Los Angeles and sold over a million dollars worth of stuff. It was crazy – people were lined up over a thousand deep just because they’d heard it was “the place to be.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or to think this guy is an idiot or a genius. But one thing is certain:

I want his PR agent…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

22 thoughts on “Oh hAPPy day!

  1. Hey, love the new look of the site! 😀

    I’m eligible for an upgrade w/my phone end of June and I’m SO getting an iphone.

    Its time for a new toy, and I have apple everything else (computer, ipod) – so this’ll fit in nicely. 🙂


  2. I have a Droid that is total heaven and then some. I clearly do not use even a fraction of the apps I could, as I’m too lazy or dumb to learn–maybe too crazy. Who knows. At any rate, congrats on your smart phone–may the Android gods be with you!


  3. I like asparagus.

    Glad to hear you like your phone so much (yes indeedy… how DID we live before we had gadgetry?!?) There’s an app that will let you point at a plane going overhead and tell you where it’s going to/from. Seems like one part coolness (in a trip-envy kind of way) and one part security risk, but I still love the idea.


    1. Oh, I like asparagus, too. But I also like farmer’s markets where you actually have choices! In another three or four weeks there will be tons of fresh produce there.

      The plane app sounds pretty cool! I’ll have to look for that one.


  4. Clever post title, Mark!

    I swear to god, you and I are on the same thought-waves at times. I just spent the day with a friend of mine, and while we were having lunch she whipped out her cellphone and I immediately exclaimed, “OMG, I cannot believe you still have one of the old cell phones. It’s so tiny!”

    It’s true….cell phones are one thing that have gotten bigger instead of smaller. Her’s looks like toy phone, compared to the phones now.

    Can you believe I DON’T own a cell phone? Gasp! I used to have one, but got rid of it like 10 years ago. For some reason a cell phone is not something I long for or even find a need for. However, I LOVE the Shazam feature on some phones because I always hear songs I don’t know the name of. VERY cool feature!

    So glad you’re enjoying your new phone. It sounds and looks awesome! Don’t you love when you get a new gadget; trying out all the new things?

    Oh and btw…I love olives. Especially the ones that are stuffed with things, like garlic – yummy!


    1. LOL. I know what you mean, Tori. And to think that I resisted having a phone with a camera 5 years ago. “I don’t need a camera…I just want to make calls!” I told the sales guy, but they actually didn’t sell any phones without cameras, so I grudgingly got one. My, how my attitude has changed…


    1. There’s an app for that, actually. It’s called Where’s My Droid? and will turn the phone on to maximum volume and start ringing if you lose it.



  5. Exit Through The Gift Shop was one of the best movies I saw last year. Kind of like Man on Wire but about street art? (Put that one on your Netflix queue if it’s not already on there…)


  6. A phone the size of a refrigerator! Would you like me to invent something that will attach that to your walker? 😀


  7. Mark–congratulations on your new phone! I am still enjoying mine…although, the whole grocery list on a phone thing hasn’t really worked for me…I like to see everything, all on one page…habit, I guess.

    I really like zedge for ringtones, wallpapers and notification noises…

    weatherbug for local weather (plus you can add other places to keep up with…)
    brilliant quotes is fun…
    coupons is a great app–I got some free food at panda express b/c of that one…I like free, I love food, and I ADORE panda…all good, duh.

    and, you can’t LIVE without ant smash. just try.



    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Jane! I know how much you love the ant smash game so I did download that one (do you have any idea how much I despise ants?!). Also got the coupon app, and you’re right about Weatherbug – that’s a must.


  8. I’ve been happy with my android phone as is – but your description of apps has me thinking maybe I NEED some of those things.

    I also enjoyed your account of your weekend. You made the idea of running errands (something I hate) sound like fun.


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