I lost my tracking device.

A week ago, my phone bricked. It was kind of my fault: its decline began in 2018 when I bailed off my bike with it in the back of my jersey pocket. The glass separated from the phone around the edges, and over time, pocket fluff began to accumulate under the glass. This created a permanent diffusion filter for my front-facing camera, giving the illusion that I was always in a sand storm. The fluff was likely also interfering with the ambient light sensor, causing my screen to flicker.

Life is pain, I know.

Nowadays, smartphones have up to 14 different sensors. With a replacement phone on the way, I’ve been looking at phone case options. Yann suggested the Otterb*x (I’m protecting you from ads), which suggests that he thinks I subject my phones to drops of 100 feet. (Oh, please. My previous phone died from firmware failure!)

I went with a biodegradable hippy-dippy case made from ground walnuts and eggshells, bound together by dried tree sap. When my next phone does die, I can plant the case and it’ll turn into a mighty oak. I admit the company eco-guilted me into going with them, instead of something cooler-looking.

I’m hoping this purchase will offset the environmental impact of discarding an $800 phone after under three years of use. 

Naturally, I have a photo of my first phone, next to my second phone. I took photos of everything even before I had a phone with a camera: I toted around a camera separately, obsessed with documenting my life.


That first phone survived 5 years of being dropped and kicked. And drop-kicked. I was able to snap the halves back together whenever it broke apart at the hinges until I couldn’t.

So, my latest phone, the Galaxy S7 died after I tried prying the glass apart just enough to wedge an alcohol-soaked cotton swab underneath. The idea was to clean the camera and light sensor. Worst case scenario? I’d make it worse. I wasn’t imaginative enough to think that I could kill it completely. With a Q-Tip, no less!

Google got excited about all the comparison shopping I was doing for phone cases, and now won’t stop showing me ads.


Too bad even comparison shopping in incognito mode won’t prevent those annoyingly relevant ads. (I like how Google tattled on itself when I verified that with a search.)

I can handle seeing a modest number of ads as long as Google can give me the information that I seek. If Google can do this, they can try to tell me what I should spend my money on. I wanted all the dirt Google could give me on the furry-butted spider that appeared while I was brushing my teeth over the sink.

Google couldn’t handle that request. It instead directed me to websites that may have the answers. The web has more than one spider identification site. Spiderbytes.org was my favorite, but I respect webmasters who showed restraint by creating a pun-free spider identification website.

Without a phone to take a photo of the spider, I found it difficult to identify the spider from memory. My guess is that it was a Hexura Picea, aka Dwarf Tarantula. I’m hoping Google will start showing me ads for brown spiders with velvety bums. I want to learn more about my transient guests, not phone cases.

This is 99% unlikely to work, but I communicated my latest request to Google anyway:

A screen snip of Google's search bar with the request: stop showing me ads for phone cases

I have, however, identified the problem with the internet. It’s now more of a marketing tool than a place to exchange information. We need to reset the entire world wide web.

If that means losing my blog, so be it.


ps- Do you know how they extract juice from clam? The answer might surprise you!

pps- I may be returning to work next week!

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