Thursday, September 06, 2012

New Apple Smartphone: With a New Toy, Looking Everywhere for Good Pictures.

Barbara and I finally gave in. It was just time. After putting it off for months, we tip-toed into the 21st century -- with new Apple iPhones.

Everywhere I have been going lately, I've been like a kid with a new toy, taking photos right and left with my new Apple smartphone. To my surprise and delight, people haven't ducked, run, or waved me off like some big mosquito.

That's what I regularly got when I whipped out my big old Canon PowerShot A630. People noticed. Many didn't like it.

But with everybody clutching a smartphone these days, it has become almost too common to notice. It is so deeply embedded in our culture that it has become one word, morphing from smart phone to smartphone. Unlike my bulky, old-fashioned, highly visible old camera, it seems to pose no threat to privacy.

With my smartphone, I can apparently snoop into peoples lives with impunity.

Smartphone in hand, I went for a walk on the campus of a nearby university, WPI. In the main guadrangle, with lots of students coming and going -- literally all clutching smartphones-- I came across a student stretched out sound asleep on a bench.

I thought: What a contrast. What an interesting picture.

I  sat down on a facing bench and, with a couple of quick taps, took the picture.  No one noticed.  Below is the photo. I must note that, even though sound asleep, the student has a strangle-hold on his smartphone.

Let's hope his parents, who may be springing huge sums for their son's education, don't see this picture.

Next, I went for a walk on the campus of Worcester State University, smartphone in hand of course. No sooner did I step foot on the university grounds than I heard blasting fire sirens and police horns.

Soon, with fire engines and police cars arriving and onlookers gathering, I took a bunch of photos. No one even noticed I was doing it.

"What's going on here?" I asked a group of onlookers.

No one knew. "I don't see any smoke," I said. "My guess is that it is some kind of medical emergency."

Onlookers nodded in agreement. Not only was I photographing the scene; I was a part of it. Later, there was nothing in the local paper about the incident.  I never found out what the emergency was. But in case you think I'm making this up, here is a photo I took.

Then there was my old friend Barbie Bell's cookout at her beautiful lakeside place.  I have to say that I contributed something to its beauty. Last summer, I and Barbie's partner Tim built her a waterfront stone wall, pictured here.

Tim willingly served as my "rock bitch," and we had a lot of fun with that.

Before I arrived, Barbie told me that she had a surprise for me. It was a wonderful one: she named her wall after me. She now calls it the GPW, or George Pollock Wall.

Barbie showed me a large stone, pictured here, with the name on it. She said that my namesake rock will always be displayed  with the wall.

Thank you, Barbie and Tim. It was my pleasure. And now, when I click on my smartphone, the first thing I see is the GPW rock.

Did I say that Barbie's place is beautiful?  Well, above is what I mean.

As if  Barbie's GPW rock were not enough, Barbara and I got another pleasant surprise, this hand-drawn-on-the-spot caricature of the two of us. Barbara looks like a young chick, which she is. I look like an old goat which, I have to admit, I am.

Oh, well. I can live with that.

Barbie had bought a winning ticket on the services of the artist, shown here sketching the two of us. Amazingly, working several hours straight, he did a caricature of everybody who wanted one.  He did all the kids.

I noticed that his left arm appeared unusable. I asked Barbie about it. "He had a stroke a while back," she said. "He's still recovering."

This is one good way to recover,  I thought. I also could not help noticing the nonstop smile on his face. No wonder he worked so many hours straight, pausing  for only a few minutes to grab something to eat. He loves to draw caricatures of people.

He has a story. I'd like to write it.

Then there was my niece Linda's and her friend Kelly's fundraiser for their Breast Friends support group.  Both are breast cancer survivors and hold monthly meetings for other survivors.

Of course, sadly, some do not survive.

"We don't use the word 'terminal,'" Linda says. "Our group is all about hope. There is always hope."

Great  prizes, all donated, were laid out on long tables and raffled. My sister Ruby, shown here with Barbara and my son Greg manned the coffee and pastry table, all donated.

Barbara and I won three prizes: a $25 gift certificate to Big Y supermarket;  two tickets to the Hanover Theater to see Mary Poppins (worth about $150); and a $25 gift certificate to Flip Flops Restaurant in Holden, Mass.

Pretty good, I would say.

Maybe you better make the next Breast Friends event. To join, donate, or learn more, click here.

Finally, the Pollock family get-together at Ruby's lakeside cottage in Oxford, Mass. For me and my four siblings -- who grew up in foster homes without family of any kind -- this is a big deal.

It's so big that Ruby decided to give her cottage a special name: Pollock Place. To make the entrance more welcoming, she had a sign made and commissioned me and her son Glen to get it up. She ordered us to get it done by September 1, the date for the Pollock event.

That gave us a week. Working like a crazy man, I got rid of a pile of brush at the entrance and built a wall. To get rocks for the wall, I had to dig them up in the woods and haul them to the entrance.

Glen, owner of Quinsigamond Machine and insanely busy meeting orders for his growing business, somehow found time to design a frame for the sign that looked right and would stay in the ground.

Here is Glen with what he came up with and how it looks in front of my wall. Linda supplied the beautiful flowers.

Now a few scenes from a wonderful day at Pollock Place.

So long and keep moving.

NOTE: George Pollock's novel,  State Kid: Hero of Literacy is now available as an E-book on Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble ( Nook).

Billy Stone was a foster child.

He ran away from abuse.

He went to juvenile prison.

He went up from there.

And he did it his way.

 Through the power of the written word. 

         Amazon E-Books by George Pollock

 "State Kid: Hero of Literacy" is fiction based on his  real-life experiences  growing up in foster homes; "Last Laughs," is the true story of how five foster kids (he and four younger siblings) found their way in life and each other. "Killers: Surprises in a Maximum Security Prison," is the story of his being locked up for 23 hours with killers in a maximum security prison;  "I, Cadaver" is about his postmortem adventures and mischief in the anatomy lab at UMass Medical School. “A Beautiful Story” demonstrates the art and process of creative writing as a 16-year-old boy goes all out to write a story that literally saves his life;  "A Long, Happy, Healthy Life,"  is about how to live the title every day; and "Unlove Story," Writing anonymously as "Elvis," a husband, dumped after 38 years of marriage, lets it all out on love, marriage, life, everything. A guy doing this? It's unheard of.
   For the Nook:

A Beautiful Story
A Long, Happy, Healthy Life
I, Cadaver
State Kid
Unlove Story

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