Poll Party #6

Poll Party #6

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I threw the last “Poll Party”!

My regular readers know that I really like to hear your opinion. I often ask for it at the end of posts (and I try to give you conversation starters), and I love reading (and responding to) the comments.

I know not everybody wants to, or has the time and energy to, write something like that.

That’s one reason I love the polls we do here. It gives people another way to be heard. Even though we certainly aren’t a scientific sample of the mainstream, I find it interesting to see what we are saying. I suspect we might even be predictive as a group, as far as e-books are concerned, but I don’t really know that.

I like to find a theme for these (although I may throw in some “odd ducks” that don’t really fit).

This time, I wanted to explore the two sides of the Kindle for my readers. No, no, not the screen and the back. 😉

The Kindle is tech and the Kindle is about reading and books.

Those two work for me. I’m really a booklover, and I’ve worked with tech for a long time…although I’m not as much of a hardware person as a lot of people might think.

Yes, I was a Microsoft Certified Professional…I even still have the card I got. That makes me a card-carrying geek…and guarantees me a seat by the kitchen in restaurants. 😉

However, my part of that was more software (including programming) than getting out a…what are those called? Oh, yeah, screwdrivers. Actually, and this is true, I literally have a screwdriver scar from trying to use one of those things, slipping, and digging out enough of a chunk of my hand so that it literally “left a mark” (as in “that’s gonna…”).

I mean, it shouldn’t be that hard! I had a blue and gold macaw for quite a while.

When I first got the macaw, I was reading a book (naturally) on training them. It said that if you pressed a dowel gently against their chests, they had to step up on it, and you could start training them to get used to being carried around, and eventually, used to being on you.

Well, my macaw (“Perry”) was in a large cage at that point…maybe four feet high, with a small door. I reached in, pressed the dowel…and Perry proceeded to run up my arm on to my head! Yes, passing through the little door.

You can’t grab a macaw and force them to do something. First, they can easily break a finger of yours if they want…they can crack Brazil nuts, after all.

Second, they are birds…inherently fragile.

There was simply no way to make Perry go back through the door…the large bird would have to duck, and if it wasn’t voluntary, it wasn’t going to happen.

I got a relative to use the dowel to scoop Perry off my head and on to the top of the cage.

Then, I figured I could take the top off the cage. I unscrewed a couple of screws…and that wore me out. 🙂

So, I stepped out for a minute.

When I came back, Perry had unscrewed another screw…and was working on an additional one when I saw it!

Yep…holding the screwdriver with one foot, and turning it by mouth.

I know: I’m not as mechanically oriented as a bird…

We say, “How many software people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, we don’t do that…it’s a hardware problem.” 🙂

A lot of what happens with a Kindle or a Fire tablet (or the Fire TV, or the Fire Phone, or the Amazon Echo) is about software. Not very many people are taking theirs apart (although some do).

For me, that tech element is part of the fun…as, clearly, is the element of books.

I’m curious about you…

On this first one, note that you can make more than one choice…so picking the first two is fine, if that fits you.

I’d pick both of them.

Now, let me ask you a book quantity question:

My answer on that one? More than 10,000. We have one room dedicated as a floor to ceiling library, and the books are on shelves horizontally, vertically, two deep…there are a lot. 🙂

A quantity question on the techie side…think about your typical day. How many tech gadgets do you use? I would include:

  • A SmartPhone
  • A Kindle
  • A tablet
  • The Amazon Echo
  • A Fire TV (or other TV device)
  • A wearable (including a fitness tracker)
  • A gaming console
  • A desktop computer
  • A laptop computer

and so on…you get the idea. If you use two different ones of the same category, count it as two.

For instance, for me…let’s see.

I use my Fire tablet, my Paperwhite, my personal Fire Phone, an iPhone for work, a Fire TV, a Fire TV stick (two different rooms), a Tivo, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, and a two-in-one (a convertible computer that can become a tablet or works like a laptop)…I think I’d say that’s it on a pretty much daily basis. I know you may have to make some guesses as to what counts: that’s up to you. I’m interested in your own impressions of what you do as well as objective reality.

Here’s something which some people might think would help define someone who is “serious” about books.

For me, it’s more than 100 years old. I have some of the original Oz books, for one thing, and I have one volume of the Britannica which is a 19th century edition.

Now, let’s get a sense of your computer history. With this one, I’d like it to be something that was on the computer in its time…not that you used it in a computer museum, or something like that. It should be something that you used practically.

Interesting…I’ve used all of these except one. I never had or regularly worked with a computer which used tape reels…punch cards, the floppies, an optical drive…sure. Some of you might assume everybody has worked with a computer which had an optical drive…it will be intriguing to see what the poll says.

This next one is actually making me nervous just writing it…

I used to joke about being “web blind”, and saying my hands would start shaking. 😉 I mentioned that today, but noted that we are almost never web blind (without internet connection) for long at all these days.

I’d hate that I’m going to say this, but I think I’d have to go without the reading. Aarrgghh!

Why do I say that?

With the internet, my writing would proliferate like beetle species during the Triassic period!

On the other hand, I could write and just not publish it for a day. That way, I could read books and write…using a computer, but not connected!

Yep, I change my mind…I’m going without the internet, and submerging into a day of reading and writing…but I do want them both.

Okay, one just for fun:

I think it’s better that I don’t reveal my answers on this one. I will say that I can legitimately say four of these…and often more than once.

Looking forward to what you have to say! If you can’t find answers that fit, feel free to comment on this post…I never seem to be able to design polls where the questions satisfy everybody, and the reasons people give me for that help me make better polls in the future.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

19 Responses to “Poll Party #6”

  1. jjhitt Says:

    Why shelves? Do floor to ceiling stacks count? How about milk crates?

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      Good point! The paper books of the books that I’ve purchased again in in Kindle format are stored in plastic crates designed especially for books, but those crates are stacked and covered with a slip cover so that the stack serves as a lamp table. If I could count those, it would put me in the 501 category. Then there are the cookbooks stored in a kitchen cabinet.

      And I wish Bufo should answer the last question. It won’t necessarily give away gender if that is the concern. I’ve been compared to both Spock and Hermione. RIP Leonard Nimoy \\//_

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        You can just whip off the slip cover and get to the books? I’d count those…and certainly, the kitchen cabinet ones.

        I’ll tell you what I’ll do, and just for you: I’ll give you one chance to guess the four I would pick. If you get them right or wrong, I’ll tell you…but I’ll only say you are right if you get all four right. 🙂 I think that makes it fun…you know, more fun than the airspeed velocity of an unladed swallow. 😉

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      I’d say anything serving the purpose of a bookshelf (which I hereby declare as being to make the books accessible, although I know a lot of people use them as decoration as well) would count. Books on milk crates (do those even still exist?)? Absolutely…I would refer to those as “makeshift bookshelves” if I saw them. The floor? Sure, that counts, as long as they are there so you can get to them, not behind an old mattress in the garage or something. I used to literally have to jump into my bed (from maybe a meter away) because of the stacks of books.

      I wouldn’t count books in boxes in the garage or in a storage unit.

      It’s funny, because I actually considered a poll about this very question…places people keep books. I thought the post needed a balance between techie questions and booklover questions, so I didn’t include that one: maybe next time!

      • Allie D. Says:

        I don’t have to jump,! but I do have a path from my bedroom door to my bed, with books on either side. All of my shelves are full to the brim and I really don’t have the space for more along the walls. Hence, stacks.
        Is it true that long-term storage in cardboard boxes can damage books? – Make the corners of hardcovers worn away? I figure if anyone knows, it’s you, having worked at a bookstore!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Allie!

        Well, in the bookstore, we never had long term book storage issues. 🙂 The goal is to get the books sold, and you don’t want to over buy and have them sitting in boxes somewhere. Generally, we could send the books back (or just the covers of the books, in the case of mass market paperbacks…I hated that part) if they didn’t sell.

        That said, I can give you some advice…and a link with more.

        I would say you are looking at a few main threats to books:

        * Moisture
        * Mammals, like rats and mice
        * Invertebrates, especially silverfish, but also cockroaches…and you may call yourself a “bookworm”, but that is a real thing
        * Molds and fungi
        * Direct sunlight

        Keeping the books tightly compressed each other is probably worse, since it could increase the moisture, spread the mold…and the bugs that actually eat the books can go from one to the next.

        I’ve heard of putting desiccants (those little packs you get in some things, like vitamins) to absorb the moisture…but I would think you would have to change them from time to time.

        Here’s an article with some tips:


        Plastic boxes are likely to be worse for moisture, but better for keeping out animals…advantages and disadvantages to everything, as is what I generally find to be the case in life. 🙂

      • Allie D. Says:

        PS I don’t mean, if anyone at all knows; I meant, if anyone reading this blog knows! 🙂

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I custom made the slip cover for the book stackers, so it’s easy to slide on and off except, of course, it follows the rule about horizontal surfaces in small houses not remaining empty for long so I would have to move a Kindle, a box of tissues, and a stack of recordable CD’s before I could get to the books!

    I forgot about the music books in the piano bench. Do volumes of sheet music count as books? The Disney one has at least one page of text for each song.

    OK, my guesses for your 4 would be Sherlock Holmes because you like to figure out mysteries, Spock because you are a very logical Trekker, an encyclopedia or dictionary because you are a repository of information, and for the last I’m torn from among rainbow, koala bear and bottomless pit just because they all seem like odd choices so I ask myself why are they there unless at least one of them applies to you and the other two are decoys. OK, wild guess, bottomless pit not because it’s a bad thing but because it is what keeps us from being “know it alls” because knowledge is a bottomless pit that can never be filled. [At least that’s what I used to tell the folks who called me a “know it all” as if that were ever possible or even a bad thing.]

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I think I overthought that last one. Is it too late to change it to rainbow, because rainbows symbolize hope and optimism, and you are one of the most optimistic, positive people I’ve encountered.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Even with rainbow, 1 to 4 of your guesses is/are incorrect.

        I guess I’ve stated my birthday, so I can say I’m an Aquarius. 🙂 I always liked what Linda Goodman said in “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs”:

        “Lots of people like rainbows. Children make wishes on them, artists paint them, dreamers chase them, but the Aquarian is ahead of everybody. He lives on one. What’s more, he’s taken it apart and examined it, piece by piece, color by color, and he still believes in it.”

        Putting that quote in here is a great example of the advantage of e-books! I remembered it vaguely…in the old days, I would have gone to my library, pulled out my paper copy…and most likely, started flipping through it (unless it had a really good index).

        In this case, I did remember which book held the quote…so I downloaded it from our archives/Cloud at Amazon (took less than a minute), searched for “rainbow”, and had it. I could have highlighted it and then copied and pasted from


        but I could type this one easily enough.

        Outside of this list, I think I’ve been compared to both Pollyanna and Little Mary Sunshine (and I appeared in the latter musical)…so, people do see me as optimistic. For some, that’s a good thing…for others, it’s shorthand for “foolishly unrealistic”.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Yes, I’d certainly count sheet music books as books. If you are talking about loose sheet music…I guess my personal feeling on that would be that those aren’t books, but I suppose each one might be a very skinny book. 😉

      I’m not handy at all, so I’m quite impressed with you making a slipcover! Sounds like a good solution…and I would consider that reasonably accessible. I mean, it’s as easy as when someone has to get a ladder to get books off the top shelf, of course!

      One to four of your guesses is/are incorrect…but I like the way you think!

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        Adding in those additional books puts me over 500. I’m surprised that I have that many. If I had been asked to estimate how many books I have, I’d have put it at around 150. Thanks for motivating me to take a count.

        I’m thinking I was right in my first 3 guesses about things or people to whom you’ve been compared but it will have to remain an unsolved mystery.

        As a natural born pessimist, I envy your optimism. I wish I could be more like that!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        I’m glad I could help you realize your true bookiness. 😉

        Well, there is research that suggests that, as you say, we may be naturally born pessimists or optimists. It has to do with a gene for processing oxytocin…I might have a different variant of that than you do.

        Oh, here’s a story on it:


        Of course, we don’t have to behave in ways our genes suggest we will…or is that just the OXTR speaking? 😉

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        LOL! I’ve tried to change, and it just doesn’t work for me. There’s always that little voice in the back of my mind asking “where are we going and why are we in this hand basket?”

        Here’s my theory on the power of negative thinking. Always expect the worst so that if it happens, you’re prepared. If it doesn’t, you’re pleasantly surprised.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Certainly, that’s a reasonable theory, and can work for financial planning and that sort of thing.

        My response to that is that I would be feeling unpleasant while I was expecting the worst. In my case, that pleasant feeling when you get that positive surprise? I have that all along. 😉 If I get a negative surprise, I can usually find something positive in it…not always, but usually.

        Let me be clear, though: I do consider negative consequences. My Significant Other finds it oddly upsetting that I wake up and check to see if the dogs are alive…every day. I prepare myself for that, and picture it…which I think makes me somewhat better able to deal with the situation when it occurs.

        I find the “endgame” with pets so difficult, though, that I have gone without them. When our last two dogs died very close to each other, I suggested we try it without for six months. Within seven months, we had Elf, and a few months later, Patty…wonderful additions to our lives, and a big focus of my existence.

        I’d say this: in the midst of an emergency, I’m one of the people you want to have there. I can make reasonable decisions, not losing my head in what’s happening. However, if you want to inspire people to greatness as a group, or even to participate in something, I’m not usually right for that. I try to partner up with somebody that everybody likes for that sort of thing…I may come up with a plan, but the other person can introduce it and lead the effort (and it’s fine with me if they get the credit, as far as most people know). They’ll get better buy-in.

        With that, by the way, I’m talking about peers…co-workers and such. I’m quite effective in modifying the behavior of my adult students.

        I’ve said this: I’m better than most people in the beginning of a relationship (not necessarily a romantic one…a working one, social one, and so on). I’m relaxed, welcoming, and enthusiastic. People feel comfortable with me right away.

        I’m average in the middle of the relationship.

        Generally, I’m not as good in the mature stage. People like me at first, they are okay with me later, and may not like me as much when things might often be deepening.

        That’s not true for me with everybody…my SO being a notable exception. 😉

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        I understand about the dogs. Over the course of my life, I’ve had 8 dogs and 13 cats. I currently have a cat. I don’t have to check on him when I wake up because most times, he’s what wakes me up. Maybe he wants to make sure I’m still alive;)


      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        I appreciate the link to the comic!

        We’ve usually had cats and dogs together, but when we got the first of these two dogs (Elf), we were going to have a visitor who was allergic to cats. Then, these two dogs have a dynamic unlike any I have ever seen. There is a remote possibility that they are actually sibling, which may something to do with their instant (and constant and enthusiastic) bonding. One had been a stray in Oakland and the other had been a stray in Hayward…that’s close enough for dogs. They look quite a bit alike, but after they both got really healthy, they had more differences.

        Still, possible.

        One of them in particular is an expert sleeper 😉 and the other one is smart enough to wait until I’m awake enough to feed them…

        I haven’t counted the pets in my life! I’ve had some come in and go out that I would count…siblings owning them, but being in the same house, for example.

        Just with my Significant Other, we’ve had…seven dogs, I’d say. That sounds like a lot, but we have been together for a long time, one was very much a senior (essentially an inheritance) at move-in, and we’ve had Elf and Patty shorter than two years.

        I would call it four cats just for the two of us, but we’ve had a couple of others that were sort of in and out. For example, we found a cat (not ours) hit by a car with a bloody mouth, but alive. We took the cat to our vets…fortunately, the bleeding was from a broken tooth, not internal injuries. The cat survived and was with us for quite a while…weeks, certainly, before the owners responded to one of our notices and reclaimed their pet. Felt like ours for a while…

        Earlier in my life, I had a number of other species. I don’t really recommend having exotics, but I have done that.

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        When I as a kid, my dad decided we would raise Siamese kittens to sell. Well, of course, one or the other of us fell in love with at least one kitten from each litter and want to keep it. When we ended up with 5 Siamese cats, Mom insisted that our breeding couple go to the vet for some surgery! We also had 3 indoor dogs at the same time. The alpha female dog was a dachshund black lab mix. She, too, fell in love with the kittens. She would push the mother cat out of the nesting box and curl up with the kittens. She even developed milk! It was not uncommon to find the dog and several cats all curled up together in the big doggie bed.

        All the other pets I’ve had were rescues. My first two puppies were rescued by my dad who was fishing under a bridge when he heard a big splash and saw a burlap bag sinking below the surface. He quickly snagged it, reeled it in, opened in and found two small black puppies. Most of the cats just found there way to our house. My current cat leaped through my classroom window one warm October day. I asked around and found out he was part of a cat colony that had been abandoned when the owner of the house moved away and left all the cats behind.

        My strangest pet was a pigeon. My dad was a construction worker. One day at work they accidentally disturbed a nest with an almost grown pigeon in it. Because of the work they had to do, there was no way to replace it, so he brought it home. We nurtured it until it could fly, then took it outside gently tossed it into the air expecting it to fly away. It flew on top of my dad’s shoulder. One day it flew along my school bus all the way to school then came back home again. The next year it made a nest and laid eggs. Even after the babies fledged, she stayed near our house. Her favorite trick was to land on one of our heads just as we were going into the house and ride into the house with us. During her third summer, she finally heard the call of the wild and started venturing farther and farther away. She would check back from time to time.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Wow! Those are great stories!

        In the case of the bag, the puppies were literally rescues…well done!

        Your story with the pigeon reminded me of one I’ve told before on the blog, about what I consider my proudest achievement (outside of family)…hand taming a wild scrub jay:


        I see I didn’t say it in that telling, but there was a baby connection. I hadn’t seen the bird for a while, and then she (I assume) came in through the open door…sweeping a baby jay in with her wing! That didn’t work out too well, because the baby panicked (but eventually got out safely). Still, that was very rewarding…even if I might have just been a good source of food, maybe like a bipedal dumpster. 😉

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