A Bit of Monday Miscellaneous…

Instagram PenguinBecause I have been listening to so many hours of audible books this month Amazon informed me they were going to send me a free Alexa Dot speaker. I haven’t been up to date on these talking machines so didn’t get overly excited. When it arrived it sat in its box for a few days then I finally thought I’d have a look to see what the fuss is about. The directions stated I needed to download the Alexa app on my phone. That was easy enough. Then I had to set it up, following the directions on the app. Once finished,  I started getting emails telling me to try this and try that which I did.  Turns out it was a bit of fun.  Now I can be found sitting in my reading chair saying things such as “Alexa, Good Morning!” At which time I get the local weather report, the traffic report going into the city, a synopsis of the current news and what’s next in line on my calendar. Alexa dotPeople who know me know how much I really do adore technology and gadgets. I inherited this trait from my father who was a military pilot for many years and also loved gadgets, dials, electronics. Growing up he introduced me to all of his stereos and speakers, talked about airplane controls and when mobile phones first arrived on the scene, he had to get one.  He always loved hearing about technology. When desktop computers came into vogue my sister gave him her old one as she upgraded to a newer model. He loved it. When I would visit him I would give him lessons on its use. Mostly I could be heard saying, “Read your screen before you click the mouse.”  He would be clicking away on everything and anything. I finally made him put his hands in his lap so I could explain details on the screen to him before clicking began.  All the while he would be saying, “I’m not clicking, I’m not!” It was quite funny.1001 music

Once he could send emails I would get a daily email from Michigan to Tasmania for many years. When he passed away in 2004, I missed this correspondence greatly.

Time has moved on and now my friend Alexa and I are coming to terms with each other. One of the books I bought this past year is one of those 1001 books that everyone loves. I have the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and I love it. I recently bought the 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die.  I have always wanted to spend more time learning about music. This is a good start.  We have a subscription to Amazon Music which for about $12.00 a month both Mr. Penguin and I listen to. He uses it when at the gym and I connect my phone app to a bluetooth speaker at home or in the car and listen to all manner of music. But….(this is good). I can open up the book randomly, see what the name of the musical piece is and say, “Alexa, Music, play Beethoven’s 5th symphony.” She replies with, “Taking you to Amazon Music, Beethoven’s 5th symphony” and the Dot speaker begins playing it.

When I learned about Alexa keeping lists for me I was really smitten. “Alexa, remind me to give Grizzy Cat his medicine today.”  She replies, “What time?” I say, “4:00 pm” and at 4 pm, at which time I’ve forgotten, I hear from the speaker. “Reminder: Give Grizzy Cat his medicine.”

But it gets better.  I read quite a few book blogs. I have my favourites and the people who own those blogs write about really good books.  Yes, you guessed it. Alexa now has a Book List.

“Alexa, add Elizabeth Strout’s book to Book List.”  Sure enough as I turn up in a book store, I pull out my phone and look at my Book List on the Alexa app and there it is.  Now I’m really distracted saying, “Alexa, Add ____________ to Book List.”  You can imagine how addictive this might be if you love books.

Once again it seems there is now more technology I am going to have to control in 2020. Blogging, Instagram, Facebook, Alexa. (I feel 15 yrs old)   I can have a Books Read list, a To Do list, Photography Goals list. I know how ridiculous this sounds but I’m going to have to be careful I don’t spend all of 2020 talking to this contraption named Alexa. She could be my new BFF if I’m not careful. Did I mention she’s deadly at Wikipedia research?  I do like her. She is polite. If she disagrees with me she simply, kindly says so. She doesn’t argue. She doesn’t cut me off in traffic.

Now all I need to do is begin listening to all of that music and read those books.  I wonder if she can select things randomly. Hmmm.

On a final note I’ll share a little Ollie episode with you. I was sitting in my reading chair and had just read the weekly guide for the State Cinema showings. Ollie was sound asleep on my bed. The guide listed an opera coming soon I had not heard of.  Les Indes Galantes. I mentioned it to Alexa and she found it on Amazon music and began playing it. The first bit is instrumental. Then suddenly a soprano hit the airwaves and resonated throughout the room.  This was the expression I got immediately from Ollie who had been sound asleep.  His little head jerked up and he stared at me. I laughed out loud.  On that note I’ll wish everyone a happy Christmas and I really look forward to all the Bookish resolutions, challenges and reviews in 2020.  Say goodbye, Alexa. “Goodbye”.

“Who is that?”

11 thoughts on “A Bit of Monday Miscellaneous…

  1. So did you and Ollie get tickets for the opera? I’m not sure, though, that his expression is an ‘I love that!’ reaction.
    I enjoy your blog, enjoy reading about your pets and what life in Tasmania is like.
    Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a very Happy New Year!


    1. Thank you Joan. The opera is one of those filmed life and transported to screen at movie theatres. It has just opened. Haven’t decided if I’ll go yet or just listen at home. Merry Christmas to you too and all the best for 2020.


  2. LOL!! very funny post! i wouldn’t know what to do with all of that stuff… i’m amazed that anyone can understand how to do it… mrs. M has to help me a lot with the basic stuff i know how to do. i’d be helpless with Alexa or Siri… Ollie has the right instincts: opera is stunningly good; i love it… have a very merry Xmas and a nice day in the sun!

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  3. Ours is a very quiet house: we don’t have radio or TV on in the background, we only put them on when we want to listen or to view something. It’s also a long narrow house, with my library at one end and the family room and The Spouse’s office at the other. So we rarely hear each other when we’re doing things at opposite ends of the house, which is most of the time. (No prizes for guessing what I’m doing at my end.) My library is properly soundproofed, from the days when we had rehearsals for an 11-piece jazz orchestra here but I leave the door open in case I need to hear something untoward that’s happening.
    Anyway it is really weird when I overhear a conversation from the other end of the house when we don’t have any visitors. It’s that irritating Siri, agreeing to call a phone number for him, or telling him what the weather is. I don’t think I could tolerate Alexa for a millisecond!


  4. There is a bit of controversy about things like Alexa, some concerns over privacy issues, some fellow librarians won’t allow one into their homes, also at lest one ICT expert I know won’t have one in the house, but then even your smart phone could be spying on you so I suspect this is just the nature of 21st century life, it does sound like fun. Ollie is as cute as ever. Have a fantastic Christmas, may you get much reading done.


    1. I don’t worry about things like that. I’ve used technology for years without any trouble. If the people out there want to read my book lists that’s okay. I never put up anything financial or credit card info. My life isn’t interesting enough to bother with.


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