How long before you let me go...
So tell me why-y-y-y...

Great green gobs of greasy grimy...

Does anybody know how to go about petitioning the federal government to remove the Canada Goose from the threatened species list? I've always hated those crap-filled bastards. They are pretty much the only animal I truly hate. And this comes from a guy who generally loves animals. In many cases, more than humans. But now? I want some pate.

CanadagooseThey've squawked at and charged at and pecked at me enough times that I have no reason to feel neither love nor even respect for them. And now they have disgraced my truck.

Katie and I were driving home yesterday morning and along one road was a large park whose fields were being crapped up by a few hundred Canada Geese. As soon as a car ahead of me went past the field, I saw the geese start to stir. Then they all spread their wings just as I was coming up to the flock. They took flight and, in their own confusion over where they should head, they started massing in the airspace over my truck.

Not a good sign at all.

Before I could utter "oh shit," two thuds hit my windshield, one of them right in my line of sight. Two giant green glops of partially digested grass stuck to the tempered glass protecting Katie and I from the frozen air outside. It didn't matter that I was driving 45 miles per hour. It didn't matter that the temperature was well below freezing and it should've frozen it right off my windshield. Nope, didn't matter at all. They stuck like glue.

I don't own a gun. I don't hunt. I don't believe in taking the lives of animals.

But damn if I didn't want to pop a couple shells in a double barrel and go to town right then and there.

And then, after el incidento con la kaka de goose, Katie and I went to a local carwash. It was one of the carwashes attached to a major gas station (BP Amoco, I believe). I went through the carwash like I would any other time.

As we pulled out, a guy and his kid ran up and guided us out and started to dry off my vehicle. This isn't the first time I've seen this. A Sonic wash in Naperville has guys on hand to dry off your car. They do it and wave you on as though no tip is expected. In fact, I think I have tried to give them a tip before and they wouldn't take it. This time, however, the guy waves at me to roll down the window and makes a motion for a tip. I kinda give him a "huh" look and he says that he works for tips. I offer him literally the only dollar that I have (debit cards go a long way, but not in cash-required situations) and he gives me a dejected look and Katie and I drive away.

Is there an expectation to tip a guy like this? I mean he practically stood in the path of my truck as I tried to drive away. I would've had to drive over him or his kid to get through. I stop and they begin drying the moisture from my truck without obtaining permission. I don't owe them jack, do I? I should be able to just drive away, right?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Time for one final review of my Nokia E71 smartphone. Why "one final"? Because WOM World finally did e-mail me back and we are working on return shipping now. I'm not entirely heartbroken because the Blackberry 8820 is coming my way in December. Since my reviews get a bit wordy, I'm moving it to the extended post so my homepage doesn't become too terribly cluttered. Hope you don't mind.

I'm looking forward to writing this final review because, at the same time that I've been using my Nokia, I've also been able to play with Katie's iPhone. And, if Wired is going to call the E71 the closest thing to an iPhone Killer out there (this was prior to the release of the Blackberry Storm, the current "iPhone Killer"), why not compare a bit?

First and foremost, the Web surfing ability. The Nokia E71 has very basic Web surfing capabilities. It will either automatically find the mobile version of a Web page, if one exists, or take you to a somewhat watered-down version of the real site. It's "watered down" because sometimes you have full functionality and sometimes you don't; it's very much like browsing on my Palm Pilot. Sometimes it's because a page won't work with the E71's browser and sometimes it's because the 3G network is so slow that you get sick of waiting around and you move on. In the interest of gathering as much data as possible, I tried to browse through just about any Web page I might normally access including blogs, Facebook, my Fantasy Football team, e-mail, reader, work sites, search engines, etc., but, when all was said and done, the only pages I would go to regularly were my Gmail account, Twitter, my work e-mail, my blog, and IMDb. YouTube was supposed to work, but the E71 would never fully download the plugins necessary to make the mobile version function properly. The rest I just didn't want to bother with after trying just once. On the iPhone? Hell, I can play MobWars on Facebook. It's a bit tedious and I'm constantly zooming in, but it can do it.

Speaking of zooming in, that's another task that takes forever on the E71. I have to go into the options menu, pick zoom, and pick my zoom percentage. It would be great if it stayed at this zoom rate throughout, but it resets with each subsequent page I visit. I understand the rationale, if you're surfing around, you don't necessarily want to be zoomed in for all so give us the standard view each time, right? Actually, what we should be given is the option to stick with the chosen zoom ratio within a certain URL's pages. So if I'm on my work e-mail, which desperately requires zooming out to view, any page I view on that site should stick to that zoom.

Apps? The E71 has a ton of them in several different categories. Did I buy any? Hell no. Why? They cost money and I don't even know if I'm going to like them. There is little to know preview functionality on them at all. While the iPhone has no trial run either (a feature they should strongly consider changing especially with the apps that cost something), at least you get a preview screen on each and every one to see what it looks like.

One way in which the E71 kicks the iPhone's ass, though, is MMS. I can take a photo and send it via a multimedia message to anyone else who can receive MMSs. The iPhone cannot. Sure, I can post the image to a Web site or attach it to an e-mail to send to someone. But what if that person doesn't have e-mail on their cellphone. What if it was me on my old Razr and Katie wanted to send me a picture from her iPhone? She couldn't. And I wouldn't be able to send her one from my Razr or my E71 or just about any other phone in existence. Why the iPhone doesn't have this most basic of functions is beyond me. Drives me nuts.

I'm still a bit torn on the keyboards. The touch screen on the iPhone isn't as bad as I thought. Yes, you can backspace easily enough and the magnifier that it uses when you touch a key is really nice. But the keyboard doesn't stay consistent from one function to the next. When I'm in Safari, one of the lower keys becomes a period and another becomes an automatic ".com," both of which are nice. But they're not there when I'm texting, for example. Then I have to hit the keyboard switch button to get my punctuation and numbers. On the E71's keyboard, since it's a static keyboard, you always know where to find the buttons. The period is always there. The ampersand is in one place. The @ is just to the left of the space bar. And almost any other punctuation is available by clicking the control key in the bottom right and scrolling through a menu. When you use a new punctuation mark, it shows up in the recently used viewer in case you need it again in the immediate future. Plus, there is still a lot to be said for the tactile keyboard. Being able to place my finger on a button to hold the place and not have the button register as being pushed is sooooo nice. For self portraits on the camera, I place my finger on the button, turn the phone, and snap the pic at my leisure. On the iPhone, if I were to try the same thing, I'd have already taken the photo before I even turn the camera around. Plus, I'm a person who likes to rest his fingers on keys as I decide what I'm going to do. It's like my contemplative moment before executing that final return that makes what I type final. Know what I mean? My finger sits there on the key and, when my mind is finally made up, I click it. That's just how I am and how I've always been.

The music player on both phones is great. On the E71, it places all the music in one place and you can scroll through and play and set them as ringtones and whatnot. But figuring out the play, rewind, fast forward, and stop is a bit difficult. Once I'm out of the player and back into the phone's other functions, I have to browse back to the player and kill it. The iPhone has a modified version of the iTunes player. It's not exactly the same menu structure upon initial viewing, but you can get used to it as easily. It does sort by album and artist and you get the cover flow option which is fantastic. But I'm still trying to figure out if there is a short cut method to killing the music once you've browsed out of the iPod area and into, say, Safari. Much like the E71, I have to go back into the player to kill it. Is this truly the case or am I missing something?

So, yeah, the iPhone is killer. That's all there is to it. But the E71 does have some features that make it awesome in and of itself. The camera. The keyboard. MMS. Is it an "iPhone Killer"? Nah. It might've stood a better chance had the fine folks at Apple never released the 3G version that can be purchased for $199. If the iPhone was still $400-500 in cost, the E71, pricing in at $450, would've been a strong contender. Now? Not so much. The E71 needs to be MUCH CHEAPER to even consider competing. And even the fact that the E71 can be used on more than just AT&T doesn't fix this situation.

Final ratings?

  • If I'd never used an iPhone, the E71 would border between a B+ and an A-.
  • Now that I've used an iPhone semi extensively, it gets a C to a C+. Solid effort, but not quite there.