Tuesday, December 9, 2008


How many of the RHD Loyal Blog Readers rely on technology way too much? I know that I do. For example, I have got to be the most directionally challenged person in the world. So bad that any time I print off directions to a place I had to make sure that it said "turn right" instead of "turn north," because something about the acrostic Never Eat Sliced Worms to remember the directions North, East, South, and West never stuck with me. Thankfully, people who are much smarter than me created a navigation system called Garmin.

Everyone I know has a Garmin, except the old die hards who still think that reading an atlas is cool. These handy little devices can tell you the quickest route from Texas to Indiana and all of the eatin' joints along the way. However, every once and a while Garmin makes a mistake. This September when the Texas A&M Judging Team was heading to the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minnesota, we relied heavily on the navigation skills of Blake's Garmin.
A quick history on the Barrow Show trip. This trip is called the pilgrimage because every university and junior college that has a team all travels together to different hog farms around the Midwest. I once counted 32 fifteen passenger vans travelling in the pilgrimage. This means that if all vans were full a total of 480 students and coaches are all travelling together.
So back to the main story. Due to the large numbers of people we split up for lunch and set a time and place to meet after we finish lunch. So we set the location in Garmin, load up in the van, and we are off. Up to this point Garmin has never got us in any trouble. Well we quickly notice that the roads we are on are getting worse and worse. Finally we reach a point where we cannot go any further. The road we were one was about ten feet wide and about 50 yards in front of us, the road ends in a creek. Hmmm.....what now, the road is too narrow to turn around on and we have a trailer full of our luggage. Our only option is to unhitch the trailer and make a 12343 point turn around. Finally we get turned around, re-hook the trailer and we are off.

This was the first and only hiccup that Garmin has had on our many trips so I will continue to endorse the almost flawless navigation skills of Garmin.

Speaking of great strides in technology, I recently fell victim on the BlackBerry craze. My new BlackBerry can tell me the weather in Banff, Alberta and get me all of the emails that my fans send me constantly. But the best feature of this hand held office is the only game that is comes with, Brick Breaker. Gone are the days of Snake and Brick Breaker is what everyone is talking about. This game has a simple concept of bouncing a ball off of a paddle and hitting the bricks to bust them open and hopefully reveal a secret prize such as an additional life or a laser. As any of you know that have taken a long trip where you are sitting in a car or an airport, you have to have something to do during the down time. On our past judging trips, this game has saved us from certain insanity. Our games range from just comparing high scores to passing the phone from level to level and see how long we can last and how many bricks we can break. Unfortunately, just like Garmin, Brick Breaker has its flaws. Frequently, the ball will slip in between two bricks and not hit a single one. How does this happen? No one knows! Another problem that should be fixed is when you lose all of your lives you must START AT THE VERY BEGINNING AGAIN! I really have to fight back the urge to throw the phone against the wall when this happens, but somehow I think that the next time I will make it past that level and get an even higher score.

So choose carefully when you are selecting your next piece of technology to add to your collection as some of them can get you lost in the backwoods of Illinois or invoke a wild competitive mode that you did not know you had.

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