The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
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Kindling: My personal cloud-- part 1

Sandra Tsing Loh and the Kindle.

It came upon me suddenly, out of the blue. Which is to say, I FINALLY received my first transmission--or at least the first TRANSMISSION I could DECODE--from that great DIGITAL data CLOUD in the sky.

My INSTRUCTIONS? To DROP my arms, JOIN the 21st century and actually BUY. . . what do you call it? A Kindle.

In RETROSPECT, INSTEAD of a Kindle, I SHOULD have bought a NOOK-- But the digital CLOUD which beams ME personal instructions is LESS than fully updated. It cannot remember ANY of my online banking SECURITY codes-- It does not REMOTELY understand what Blue-Ray is-- It CANNOT convince my CELLPHONE to take PICTURES—Why would it do that?

But the KINDLE? THAT my personal data CLOUD in the sky was SURE about. And I was excited!
I was JUST about to embark on my THIRD cross country FLIGHT in a WEEK-- I had already READ my usual LAPFUL of slippery overpriced MAGAZINES-- I’ve done ALL the United Airlines Sudokus in PEN already-- and I had read all of my BOOKS.

So I embarked on a journey to obtain some NEW books—But apparently, you can’t, anymore. I’d been DRIVING across the West SIDE RACKING my BRAINS for a bookstore-- Dutton’s? CLOSED. Borders Westwood? GONE. Barnes and Noble? Where IS one? A Jamba Juice won’t do. Never mind--
The Kindle! I thought. Like with some sort of marvelous. . . shortwave radio. . . one can now. . . tune IN the books! From. . . the sky!

But where does one buy a KINDLE?

"This is RIDICULOUS!" I thought. "Where do I buy the THING that KILLED the bookstores? To what non-existent BUILDING do you go to BUY what I still suspect may be a fictional object? I literally don’t KNOW how to BE in this world! I don’t EVEN understand my United AIR miles! Quick question: If you USE your MILES to BUY miles, do those OLD miles ALSO count as MILES? If a digital TREE falls in a digital FOREST--? Help! I’m freaking out! I feel like I’m in an ESCHER drawing!"

Fortunately, STAPLES had Kindles-- Although none of the STAFF could explain how they WORKED. "I never USED one," was my SALES guy’s helpful comment. Fortunately, even though there is no actual MANUAL, it WAS kind of easy: You plug it in, you turn it on, then it starts TELLING you how to OPERATE. . . itself. But sadly, NOT how to turn it off.

And of course NOW I’m in the plane with my Kindle! The pilot is saying, "In preparation for takeoff, please turn off your electronic devices"-- And the only way to find out how to turn OFF the Kindle is to keep it ON!

Oh my God! Somebody call 911!

Next week: The KIDS and Kindle.