Showing posts with label computer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label computer. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Horror Story

July 8, 2014
H20.jpg (75075 bytes)Usually on the days that we drive home from Santa Barbara, there is little to say in a journal entry.  We got in the car, we  drove for a long time, we stopped for lunch, we drove some more, we got home.  Nothing exciting there.  Oh, I could mention that we finished David Baldacci's "The Hit" and that we stopped at the Burger Queen (because it was too far to go to Five Guys), but there is still not the stuff of riveting narrative, unless you count the B.S. that was printed on the bottle of water that I got at the Burger Queen.

(Knowing how boring this entry was likely to be, I actually took a photo of it.  Just read that crap.  Do you suppose anybody buys that particular bottle of water because of all the purple prose describing its contents?)

I also took a picture of this flag on a hill, because I need it for a project I'm doing this week.  But it wasn't particularly interesting.   Certainly not enough to fill out a whole journal entry.

HillFlag.jpg (53073 bytes)

We came home, read the mail, had dinner, settled in to watch 24 and then all hell broke loose.  I knew instantly I had my riveting story.  There was drama, there was blood, sweat and tears, there was moaning and hair pulling, angst, and the sense of all being lost.  And in the end, I had sound.  and it was wonderful.
The first clue that something was wrong was when Walt mentioned he plugged in his computer but couldn't get on the internet.  I thought I had been on the internet on my laptop, so I wasn't sure what his problem was.  We got involved in 24 and didn't think about it again.

When 24 ended. it was time to write this journal entry.   First I went to Facebook to download a selfie that my cousin Niecie had taken of her and my mother when she visited today.  When I tried to save it, I got a message that the computer couldn't find the external hard drive.  This is the terabyte drive on which I store EVERYTHING, leaving the C-drive free.

Now we come to the moaning, pulling of hair, and the revelation of the limits to my computer expertise.  Everyone thinks of me as a  computer geek and yes, to some respects that is true.  I know what I need to know. I do not know anything else.  I don't really like upgrading software, so my software was all installed in the 1990s.  I bought the terabyte drive about 5 years ago, plugged it in, moved everything from my C drive to the terabyte and haven't thought about it since.

I haven't thought about so much that I didn't remember what it looked like.  Those two boxes?  Was one the terabyte?  It didn't seem to be.   And was the other one the other external hard drive or a modem?  Had the dogs gotten entangled in the cords while we were away and unplugged something?  Had I lost the terabyte, which now didn't seem to be anywhere.  Oh my god...everything is on that drive!  Against my better judgement, and the begging of my body to stay put, I got on the floor to see if I could make any sense of the jumble of cords hanging down.   Would I find the missing hard drive there?  Would I find something unplugged.

Actually there was an unplugged cord, but it had been unplugged for weeks...maybe months...and the only reason I hadn't plugged it back in again was that I didn't want to get on the floor, not knowing if I could get back up again.

I finally asked Walt for help.  Not only is this a junk room with a desk piled high with treasures and junk, you can barely see behind the computer and what you can see is in the dark.  Walt arrived with his flashlight and started trying to help.  "where did you keep it?" he asked.  I had a major attack of Atria-itis and could remember neither where I kept it (except I knew it was to the left of my keyboard...somewhere.  Under the file folders?  Behind the photo of Fred and his family?  "What does it look like?" he asked.  I couldn't remember.  I thought it was the black box, but that didn't seem to be it because the computer wasn't seeing it.  The smaller external hard drive has always been the L drive and the terabyte the G drive.  But there was no G drive and that L drive contained stuff I had never seen before.

By now sweat was pouring down my face, I was feeling totally hopeless and helpless and afraid that everything I had on the drive was gone forever.  But where did it go?  

Well, we unplugged the black box and plugged it back in again and whaddya know, the computer started reading it.  So then I figured that the other box must be the modem.  But Walt remembered we had put the modem and router out of sight under the desk, where the dogs couldn't get to it.  Was the other box the other hard drive?  It was.  This is kind of a scary thing because I could look at those boxes that I have looked at every day for YEARS and didn't have a clue what they were, though I was the one who installed them in the first place.

Crisis averted, except now what was the G drive is now the J drive and there is no G drive.  

Only now we had no internet access. In order to get to the router and the cords and everything we needed to check, that meant the floor needed to be cleaned.   This was akin to doing an archeological dig.  I heaped everything on the kitchen table and now just have to get it all put back...somewhere...

junk.jpg (71526 bytes)

It may be a while before I get to sleep...and it's already 1:30 a.m.

But there was a bright side.  While sitting here writing this, I suddenly got a beep notice of an incoming message.  My speakers have not worked on this computer for a couple of years.  Whenever I want to watch a video, I have to use ear phones.  But I guess that plug that has been lying unplugged between my feet for such a long time was connected to the speakers.  Who knew?

Day 8:  Happiness seeing my mother so happy, visiting with my cousin Niecie.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sad Tale of Technical Woe

I have been trying to start this entry for one hour.   I don't even know if it is now going to make any sense or not, but let me try.

The subject was going to be the show that we saw tonight.  I had pictures to go with it, so I attached the camera to the computer.  I tried to download a photo from the camera but it said that it was an invalid number.  I tried another photo, same thing.  I could SEE them on the screen, but it would not let me download them.

This afternoon, my desktop told me I was almost out of storage on my 120 gig C drive.  Almost everything is stored on different drives to keep the C drive clear, but apparently I had a ton of temp files.  The computer gave me the option of deleting all those unnecessary files.  I said OK and went off to visit my mother.   I'm wondering if freeing up an additional 2 gigs has screwed me royally.

But no problem.  There are work-arounds.  I'll use the other camera, the one that used to work fine and is now iffy.  Downloads on that camera are a breeze.  But not now.  Since I first attached the Canon, it has screwed up how I download from the Panasonic and now I can't do it at all.

Well...OK.  I'll use the laptop, upload them all to Flickr and then download from Flickr to my hard drive.
While waiting for the laptop to boot, I decided to install the software that came with the camera, which I had not done yet.

While that was installing, I checked the laptop, which had frozen.   The only thing to do was reboot.  I did that and finally was able to get to Flickr and choose the 13 photos to upload to a junk folder.  That was 30 minutes ago and they are still uploading.

I came back to check on the install of the Canon software.  It said that there were 4 more files to install and that it would take six minutes.  

I tend to be entirely too impatient, so I turned on The Golden Girls and set the timer for six minutes so I wouldn't tear my hair out.

When the timer went off, I checked the computer.  The "install" bar had not moved.  It now said it would take 13 minutes and there were only 4 files to install.

But after an hour (1 Frasier, 1 Golden Girls), the 13 photos were finally uploaded to Flickr.  Now I have to move them, laboriously, one by one, to my photo file on my external hard drive.  The desktop said there were 4 files to upload and it would take 21 minutes.

Amazingly, after an hour and a half, the software did install.  I have to reboot in order to use it, and I ain't gonna do that until THIS is finished!  Then I'll find out if it really helped, or if it just took up some of that space I just freed up this afternoon.


The show we went to see was called The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety and it is a very odd show about wrestling.  The set certainly made it seem real!

Wrestlerink.jpg (41283 bytes)

It's a comedy that pokes fun at professional wrestling and the actors certainly get a workout.  In fact, one of the actors was injured during a preview and had to drop out.  Fortunately they were able to get another guy who was just finishing the role somewhere else to come in and play it here.  His primary occupation is not actor, but professional wrestler, so he knows the ropes, so to speak!

We all agreed that we hadn't known what to expect when we went in and that it was an odd show...and that we had all enjoyed it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Seven Deadly Sins

Now that I'm getting a handle on "gluttony" (again), I engaged in another of the 7 deadly sins today:  sloth.  But when you pair the 7 deadly sins with the 7 virtues that the Catholic church teaches, what is paired with sloth is "diligence" and I suppose I engaged in that too. Maybe more diligence than sloth, actually.

Today I bonded with my new iPad.  I am learning how to tame it.   By the middle of the afternoon, when the battery was at about 50% (how nice it supposedly has a 10 hour battery life), I had done the following:
  • installed many apps...and played several new games
  • set up Facebook
  • figured out how to create albums in "Photos"
  • retrieved a photo from my computer and managed to get it ointo the iPad to use for wallpaper
  • edited (cropped) a great photo of Lizzie that I took with the iPad camera
  • watched a 1 hour TV show from Lifetime
  • figured out bookmarks in the Safari browser
  • downloaded the iPad manual from iBooks and flipped thru most of it
  • learned about file folders and bookmarks on the home screen (a great find!)
  • found a way to get my DCN mail on the iPod (gmail was easy, DCN is a bit more tricky)
  • set up a notebook page to record all my passwords, so I can remember them without having to come into the office and check the desktop
  • installed the Kindle app so that I can have the same books on my actual Kindle and on the iPad, so I can read at night in the car, and downloaded the book I am currently reading on the Kindle.
  • I'm trying to get a handle on Flipbook (which my sister-in-law Olivia swears by), and seem to be doing it
  • set up "Pocket" to save web pages to read off line (haven't quite mastered that yet)
  • accessed my Pinterest account
  • set up my browser to auto-fill in email and passwords, so I don't have to keep typing them over and over and over again.
I felt like God did on the 7th day -- I was ready to rest!

About the time the 49er game was about to start, I was ready to call a halt and plugged the iPad in to recharge while I got out my poor neglected Kindle to read during commercials.

Not a bad day for a new computer-ish thing.  The nice thing about the iPad is that it's not a computer, so I don't have to worry about doing the thing I hate most about a new computer--configuring all the software I use on the old computer.  I can't write a blog entry on the iPad (not the way I write them), I can't use Word Perfect.  

I told Walt that we were very smart not to get a 3G enabled iPad.   It is so easy to get caught up in what I am doing that if I were not on a wifi connection, I could rack up hundreds of dollars in charges without even blinking.

We watched the 49er game, after which Walt got a text from Tom saying he was exhausted.  Not surprising.  That second half was a nail biter from start to finish!

Then I watched the 2 hour finale of Survivor, one of my guilty pleasures.   Each year about the third week into it, I ask myself why I'm watching this stupid show, but by the end, I'm all eager to find out who gets the $1 million.  I usually have a favorite, but this year, I was happy with the 3 finalists and would have been happy whoever won.  The two who did not win seemed to be genuinely gracious about the winner and no hard feelings all around.

Then I watched the finale of Homeland, one of the best shows on TV.   You could tell from the peace and calm and quiet of the first half that the second half was going to have some sort of event that would blow you away, to end the first season.

And boy did it ever.  Don't know how long we have to wait before we see where things go from here, but it will be interesting.

I still have to get through the 2 hour Royal Pains wedding, but as it is already pushing 1 a.m., that may have to wait for tomorrow.

So I'm not sure if today was a day of diligence or a day of sloth...or maybe a healthy combination of the two. which is probably the best way of looking at it.

The bad news is that Bob may be taken back to the hospital tomorrow.  He has developed a fever, which I hope is something minor and is not going to be a set-back for him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


In one of the funniest movies ever made, W.C. Fields' short, The Fatal Glass of Beer, he is sitting in a cabin in Alaska, the snow swirling around the house, and blowing inside the house ('tain't a fit night out for man nor beast).   He's sitting there with the local constable, who asks him to play something on his dulcimer.  

Fields, asks, "You won't consider me rude if I play with my mittens on, will you?"

I don't think anybody would consider me rude if I typed with my mittens on, because first of all, I can't type with mittens on, and second, even if I did, you wouldn't see it.  But lord do I long for mittens today.  We keep our house on the cool side in winter and warm side in summer, but even with the air conditioning or heater going to make the rest of the house comfortable, this office does not benefit from most of the temperature control.

Not only does the air vent seem ineffectual for blowing in either warm or cool air, in the winter especially, there is a dog door which opens about 4 feet from my desk.  It has a cover, of course, but it is not air tight and ... it's bloody cold in here.

To write this entry, I am taking breaks every few paragraphs and going out to the kitchen to stick my hands in the open oven, which is set at a low temperature, to warm the fingers up so I can come back in here and type a bit more.

I've tried putting heaters in here, but there are too many horror stories of heaters causing house fires and this office is just cluttered enough and I am just careless enough that I fear I am ripe for that happening.  But also, the ones I've tried heat up just fine, but within a short period of time it's blazing hot in here, so I'm constantly turning them off and on.  So I just deal with the cold however I have to.

(Why am I suddenly thinking of poor Bob Cratchit huddled over his tiny candle, trying to warm his hands while Scrooge sits in his office hoarding the supply of coal?)

With the arrival of winter and the cold weather, the time was right for Walt to present me with my Christmas present!!!  Some time ago, I added an iPod to my Amazon wish list, never thinking in a million years that he would get one for me, but by golly he started to think about it.  Add to that a little "encouragement" by Char, who has been telling me I need one for the past year, ever since our Rhine trip, and he asked if I was busy today and if not, would I like to go buy an iPad.

First, he had errands to run, and I had a nap to take, and we had our Christmas oranges to put away...

oranges.jpg (142702 bytes)
(A small portion of our $40 box of oranges that we get each year)

By the time we finally left, it was nearly dark and raining, but we went anyway.  Instead of going all the way to Sacramento, in the rain, on the second to last Saturday before Christmas to shop at the Apple store, we stopped at the local Target, where they had one iPad 2 (the model I'd decided I wanted) in stock.   

I now have an iPad!!!!!

The evening has been spent trying to get it set up, a both exciting and frustrating task.  I'm trying to get all the programs and games I use most on the thing but first of all, you have to enter an ID for every. single. app. that you download and mine is ...which does not roll trippingly off the fingers, especially after you've done it a dozen times.  Secondly, everybody wants long passwords for security now.  I have about 3 that I use for most places, each between 15-20 characters long.  Sometimes I use caps and sometimes I use punctuation and 99% of the time I can't remember which I've used.   Fortunately years ago, before I started losing my mind, I had the smarts to create a file on which most of my passwords are stored, all coded so I can tell what they are, but the criminals who are going to break into my house and steal my Flickr password will never be able to decipher from "MT99" what the 15 word password is, or what "the usual" means.

So I've been running in here to the office to check passwords and for the sites where I never wrote down the password, setting up new ones.  End result (so far) is that I have most of the programs I want set up and all of the passwords are now recorded on my backup file and I'm in good shape to go to sleep, once I thaw my fingers once again and finish this  entry.

I even downloaded a Kindle app for the iPad because you can read on the iPad at night, but can't on the Kindle, so I can read in the car going and coming from wherever we are driving, since I can have the same book on both machines.

I finished almost everything I needed to do to allow me to work on the iPad instead of the desktop unless I need to use the printer or design a journal page, which means my hands can stay WARM thru the winter!

For now I am using the box the iPad came in as a protective cover because Char has bought me a wonderful cover/keyboard (the final straw in convincing Walt to actually buy this...she told him he had to because she'd already purchased the keyboard for me!).  She is a pearl beyond price.

And...hey...guess what... I have an iPad!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Hero

Last night Walt looked at the printer and, like me, couldn't figure out where to start trying to find the paper that was stuck in it.

We both periodically had another look at the printer, but at the end of the day, the paper was still jammed.  The problem was that you could not see it anywhere (it was too small) and, without a mental image of how the machine looked inside, neither of us was brave enough to try to remove parts.

This morning Walt looked at it again.  We both scratched our heads.

Walt asked where the disk was that came with the machine, which had the user's manual on it.  I didn't know. We couldn't do anything until I found the disk.  That meant cleaning off my desk (which I had just piled with everything from the floor that allowed Walt access to the printer in the first place).

I couldn't get to it right away because my friend Joan had asked if I could drive her to her doctor's office.  We drove out and I let her off, then parked the car in a shady spot and spent some time reading my book while waiting for her to come out.

It was a great way to read without feeling guilty about anything.   There was no chore I should be doing because I wasn't at home.  Guilt-free reading and I got a big chunk of my book finished.

Then off to the store.  I only had two things I needed to pick up, and I never did figure out the second thing, but bought juice, which I thought we were about out of (so that must have been the second thing), only discovered we had half a gallon of it at home, so I still don't know what I meant to get.

When I got home, I needed to look for the disk, but somehow a nap seemed more important, so I took nap (I am so good at finding ways to procrastinate, even when it's the put off doing something that I want to do!).

When I got up, I moved enough crap from the desk to determine that I didn't know where the disk was.

So I went on line to see if I could find a copy there.  I read the model number of my printer, MG5720, and was frustrated that I could not find it on ANY Canon web site.  I took a closer look and it was my eyesight.  My model was actually MG5220.  Amazing what a difference that made.

I found the manual and downloaded it.  It was an .exe file.   

After it was downloaded, I executed it and it downloaded the manual...and I didn't have a clue where it stored it, so I had to do a search of my computer trying to find it.  That only took two searches and about 20 minutes, but eventually I did find it and finally, I had a manual.

There is almost no light in my office, so Walt was trying to check the on-screen manual, hold a flashlight, and fiddle with the back of the printer, but eventually....SUCCESS!  The offending piece of paper was found and easily plucked out and the printer works again.

Walt is my hero!

Now all I have to do is find my cell phone, which has been missing all day.
Or maybe I'll take another nap first.

Five minutes after I wrote about my cell phone, it rang, and it was sitting at my elbow.

I am very dumb.

As I went to feed the dogs, I remembered what I had not gotten at the store:   we are out of cottage cheese, which I mix in with the dogs' kibble.  I had to melt some peanut butter ad add that instead, which they loved, but which is (a) expensive and (b) not as good for them as the fat-free cottage cheese they usually get.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Geeky Day

Yesterday I talked about the digital age and how adept young people were at using all the new technologies as they came along.

Today I proved that I am an old fogie.

I do embrace the new technologies, but it's hard to learn stuff when you are older.  Today after only 2-3 hours of frustration, turning the air blue with expletives not deleted, tearing my hair out, and on the verge of tears, I finally have moved my Firefox bookmarks to my cell phone. 

I had not intended to spend the entire morning trying to move bookmarks, and I didn't even have Firefox on my phone but it was one of those things that just kind of snowballed.

It started with my trying to look at a photo on a web page on my cell phone.  The phone has a default browser and at some point I also downloaded the Opera browser.  I don't remember why now but probably because it had a more attractive interface and I thought I could figure it out.  The problem with a lot of these apps is that the developers assume that using them is intuitive and so there are no manuals, help screens, or contact numbers to ask your stupid questions.

Anyway, I was once again struggling with the Opera browser, as I always do, and the thought crossed my mind to check and see if there was a Firefox app for the android.  Yippee...there was!  I'm a real whiz at downloading apps, so in no time at all, I had Firefox on my cell phone.

cell.jpg (23302 bytes)Only when I opened it, all I got was a bar across the top with the tiny Firefox logo in the left corner. The screen itself was totally blank.
I don't know when, in my digging around trying to figure out how to make SOMETHING appear on the screen, I came across something about syncing your bookmarks with your cell phone.  There were two separate things--instructionsfor how to sync in Firefox itself and a program called "My Bookmarks" where you put in codes or something and somehow magically the bookmarks transferred over to the cell phone.

I don't even want to tell you how long it took me to figure out what to do.  Nothing made any sense.  I must have worked on the desktop instructions and the cell phone My Bookmark app for half an hour.  The problem seemed to be that in order to know what to do on the phone itself, I had to be looking at the instructions, and if I was looking at the instructions, I couldn't do what it said to do because I needed to do that in a different screen. Finally, on the verge of tears, I stomped out of here in disgust and complained to Walt, who hasn't yet figured out how to download any apps, so I knew he couldn't help me, but I just needed to let some steam seep out of my ears.

cell2.jpg (24543 bytes)In disgust I said "come into my office and I'll show you."  I patiently started showing him what it said to do, and going through it step by step to show him how impossible it was to do what I was supposed to do.  The instuctions started out by saying "swipe left."  What did that even mean.  To start the phone you swipe across the glass to unlock the screen and it opens the phone, but you couldn't get to Firefox just by starting the phone.

But then as I was reading all that to him, to show him how utterly impossible it was to understand, a light dawned.  To open the phone you swipe your finger across the screen from left to right.  What would happen if you swiped your figure from right to left?  I tried it, and voila!  Magic things happened. Who knew there were things hidden off the edge of the visible screen?  See them there on the right?

Well, after that it was fairly easy, or at least it seemed so at the time, and I can now affirm that yes, my bookmarks ARE on my cell phone, if I can remember how to find them.  And it only took two hours.  

Along the way, I found out that you could do other things, like bookmarking a specific web site to put on your home screen, but though I thought I was doing it all right, I apparently was unable to figure out how to do that, so I've left it for another day.
I also downloaded this video from Henry V, which has such glorious music on it:

I have downloaded videos like this before to transfer to my iTouch and know that they have to be converted into a format that will play on the iTouch.  But you see all these machines have proprietary formats.  What will play on the iTouch won't play on my Android.  That needs a different kind of conversion.  But I was sure that wouldn't be a problem.  Except that my phone is a Motorola Droid 2X and they only had a conversion program for the Motorola Droid X, but I figured how different could it be? 

It takes time for the conversion so I watched Jeopardy and then tried to figure out how to get the converted video onto the phone.  If I had an iPhone, it would be a simple matter of using iTunes to transfer it.  But, of course, I don't.  I tried several things and finally put it in DropBox, which is a file sharing program. You put files from your home computer in the internet dropbox file and then you can pick them up later on any computer or your cell phone.  I had already transferred several Lamplighters interviews to the Lamplighters using DropBox, since the file were too big to e-mail, and figured it would work all right for the video, which is MUCH too big to email!

I cooked and ate dinner while waiting for the transfer to be complete...and then discovered that while yes, the file is there, it can't be played on the cell phone after all.  Sigh. I guess Motorola Droid X isn't compatible with Motorola Droid 2X after all.

At that point I gave up completely and went to the theater to review Hairspray.  

Now it is nearly 2 a.m., I have written this entry and discovered that the video I embedded above won't show the way I wanted it to.  I have to decide what I'm going to do about THAT.  [ it to work]

So I spent literally all day today working on the computer and cell phone and ultimately accomplished only ONE thing.  (I didn't tell you about the hour and a half I spent reading my "Droid for Dummies" book, trying to find out if you could create automatic texts on the droid so that I could type the letters "bas" and have it fill out my email address, which is so damn long to type:  basykes at dcn dot davis dot ca dot us.  I ultimately decided that though you can apparently do this on an iPhone, this is another thing that can't be done on an android.  That Verizon guy sold us a bill of goods when he convinced us an android was better than an iPhone.

I give up.  I'm going to sleep, if I can find the couch....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Life is Good Again

I have a working monitor again.  Walt took my monitor upstairs and connected both his desktop and laptop to it and could not get any picture either, so we successfully diagnosed the problem as a dead monitor.  He remembers that he bought it at Best Buy in Sacramento which went out of business many years ago, so it's not surprising that the monitor, which rarely gets turned off, has lived out its life, having given me many happy hours of pleasure along the way.

Next step was to go and buy a new monitor.   It appears that my old flat screen monitor was 15" and this one is 20" but it takes less space on my desk, which is lovely.  It's an HP 52031, for those of you for whom that means something.  And it's very pretty.  :)

NewMonitor.jpg (61053 bytes)

We brought it home and went about setting it up.  Not much to do, really, but unplug the computer, attach the monitor, plug in the monitor, plug the computer back in again and fire the system up. 

But of course it wasn't that easy.  

It looked great and the software that came on a disk seemed to be installing.  It worked, and I could access the menu for monitor control. was not perfect.  I was disappointed that my choices, according to the monitor menu, seemed to be have everything in the center of the screen, which gave me the appropriate dimensions on photos but teeny typeface for everything else, or I could opt for using the full screen, which stretched all the photos to fit the screen, but nothing was in proportion.  I know I'm fat, but I'm not THAT fat!

I tried everything and finally decided I'd learn to live with it, though I hated the look of the playing screen for FreeCell and Spider Solitaire.

But when I went to connect to the internet and to change my DCN mail delivery from forwarding it to Gmail and back to leaving it on the local server, I couldn't connect because I got a message that the site had an invalid certificate and shouldn't be trusted.  I'd never seen that message before.

The beauty of having a local server is that you can actually call them and they answer right away, look up your problem and get back to you right away.  Every time something like this happens, I know why I pay more for DCN then, for example, Comcast as my provider.  He couldn't figure out the problem, but asked me if I had checked the battery on my computer.  BINGO.  I remembered that the guru was going to change the flat battery in my computer that runs the clock and associated programs, but he forgot to do it.  Instead he gave me the battery and showed me where to put it.  It involves opening the computer and trying to remember where he said to do it, which I think I can do, but before I can do THAT, I have to clean off my whole desk and I just hadn't gotten around to it.

But once I re-set the clock (which goes back to 2003 every time the computer is unplugged), things were fine.

I played around with settings some more and finally posted a message on Facebook about my disappointment with the look of things.   The Cavalry, in the form of Bill Walsh and Paul Zawilski, both Lamplighters, came to the rescue.  I explained that everything I read said that the optimum configuration was 1600 x 900 but all of my settings  said that mine was at 1280 x 1024 and I couldn't figure out how to reset it.  It was Paul who asked me if I had opened the display panel on the computer itself.  I did that, checked the settings and in seconds had changed it to 1600 x 900 and the whole thing became the way it was supposed to be.  

Now I have this beautiful wide monitor that looks beautiful, shows things the way they should be seen, and I hope will give me many more years of service.
Thank you, Paul and Bill!  I do love Facebook!

The price I paid for turning off the computer is having difficulty starting Front Page, with which I design these pages.  I suddenly am having problems connecting to a web and though I have used this program for more than 10 years, I still don't understand that...because I don't need to.  And now, of course, anyone hearing that I am using a 1998 version of web design software just laughs.  But I'm happy with it--why should I change? Except that now it is doing strange things and every time I shut down the program and start it up again, I have to find a new work-around.  I may eventually find better web design software, but for now I'm just gritting my teeth and making do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm Melting, Melting..

I discovered that two things which do not mix well are: lack of sleep and computer problems.  Poor Walt got home from work today and found me in tears just from the frustration of it all.

My problem, as I have said before, is that I haven't had enough problem with my computer(s), so when something goes wrong, even something simple, it's been so long since it went wrong before that I don't know where to look and am not sure what to do.

I sent a message to the guru last night, telling him of my plight, but I didn't hear from him until the afternoon.  In the meantime I recreated this journal page and hope that it will post all right when I go to post it, unlike last night.  It would be nice to get to bed before 3 a.m.

When I finally heard back from the guru, he gave me some suggestions to test for whether it was the computer monitor or not.  One thing he suggested was to connect the monitor to this laptop and he told me how to switch between the big monitor and the built-in monitor.
My main problem with doing that is that there is no space to work in.  A friend of mine has been, for many months, cleaning out her mother's house.  The mother was a hoarder and the daughter decided to keep a blog about cleaning up the house. The mother, who died more than a year ago, could easily have been the subject of a hoarder rescue reality TV show.  I'm not anywhere near that, but I have a very small office, filled with too many pieces of furniture and my desk has too much crap on it. 

To really attach the laptop to the desktop monitor takes 3 hands to do efficiently.  Having only two hands, I did what I could.  Got it attached and nothing happened.  I detached it, came back here to the family room with the laptop, plugged it back into the wall, and could not connect to the internet.  It kept telling me that network was unplugged.

I swear, I spent half an hour, alternately screaming and crying and trying everything I could to get an internet connection before I discovered that in attaching the laptop to the monitor, I had inadvertently disconnected a connection on the back of the router in my office.  Once I plugged that back in again, everything was fine.

But the problem is that this laptop, which I love most of the time, is not the speedy machine that the desktop is. Everything takes time. In trying to problem solve the "connection unplugged" mystery, I shut down all the programs on the laptop, and rebooted, but that did nothing, so I shut it down completely and did a cold re-boot, which also did nothing (now, of course, I know why).

But "shutting down" the laptop takes a painfully long time and rebooting takes a painfully long time and the more frustrated I became, the less patient I became so that by the time poor, well-meaning Walt asked "what can I do to help?" I could do nothing but yell at him because I didn't know what anybody could do to help because I didn't know what I was doing.

There were a couple of other emotionally jarring things that contributed to my mental state, but mostly it was the computer and the lack of sleep.

We finally got the laptop hooked back up again, with Walt providing the third hands, did the test the right way and have pretty much decided that yes, indeed, it is a bad monitor.

By now I'm calm again because I know I will get a new monitor tomorrow.  However, if the new monitor doesn't solve the problem, you may expect fireworks and lots of tears coming from this little part of California.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sleepy Me

It is a bit after 1:30 a.m. and I'm finally starting this.  We had a power outage this afternoon, right after I went downtown to work in the book store.  It only lasted 15 minutes, Walt reports, but when I came home to turn on my computer, it would not start.

Well, that's not true, necessarily.  It's part of a problem I've been having and I'm beginning to suspect I need a new monitor.  When I turn on the computer, the computer start up logo flashes briefly and then goes to black screen.  It used to be if I turned the computer off and on enough times, I could eventually get it to stay on and then it would stay on for days.  But no luck tonight.

I left it off while we went to the theater to see Mama Mia (yet again) but when I tried starting again, it still wouldn't start.  (A call will be made to the guru tomorrow, and perhaps a trip to somewhere to get a monitor.)

Over the years, I have made this laptop pretty compatible with the desktop, but it's not quite seamless.  When I travel somewhere I prepare to use it, by adding the current design for the journal, and moving any pertinent files, documents and photos I think I might be needing while we are gone.

When the computer just goes berserk on you, you haven't had a chance to prepare so you have to find work-arounds.  I can do it, but, as I said, I'm starting to write this at ...well, now, 2 a.m.
Up to the time the computer went out, things were going well.  I had a fun afternoon at the book store.  Today we had our first day of real rain in I don't know how long.

Because of the rain, Peter had done almost no business all morning.  I sat there almost the entire afternoon reading a book of children's letters to Albert Einstein and not a single person came in.  Finally a father bought a book for his little daughter ($3.50).  I finished the Einstein book and picked up a $1 bargain David Baldacci, so bought that.

Finally a group of 6 people came in together, young people I assumed had just come from the movie theater (they hadn't).  They were laughing about liking books, but seemed not to have been in a used book store before.  One girl asked whether I was called a 'librarian' or not (I told her I was called a volunteer!) and another guy picked up a Gore Vidal book and asked if it was pronounced VIdal (rhymes with "wheedle") or viDAL. He was so pleased to learn he had guessed correctly.

They left the store quickly.  I don't know where they were going, but I'd be pretty surprised if it was going to be to another book store!

I finally made my big sale of the day, $8, just before Walt came to pick me up.  Susan always sends a "day's total" to each volunteer the next day to let us know how much we helped sell.  Heck, I know EXACTLY how much I sold...$12.50!  Good thing most days are not like that.

It is now 2:30 and I'm going to post this...which means that I should be able to go to sleep around 3 a.m.!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Pet (Dust) Bunny

I picked up my computer this afternoon. This is one of the many photos my guru showed me to let me know how full of dust the machine had been...

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There was an even bigger blob in an earlier picture. Very embarrassing! But who knew you should clean out the inside of your computer? I've had a computer for about 25 years and I've never cleaned out the inside. Walt says he's cleaned his once, when he dropped something and had to open the machine to retrieve it, and decided to get some dust out at the same time. In fact, the guru had even told me when last serviced it that it wasn't all that bad and that I should see some of the computers he had to clean out. I suppose I now have become one of "those" computers.

He says you should open your computer twice a year and blow out the dust. So all of you who, like me, never thought of doing such a thing should take heart! Get yourself some canned air and give your computer a blow job.

The other thing he told me is that reg cleaners, like My Clean PC, are scams. They charge for a program which accesses your files, gives the company your vital information and eventually will infect it with a huge virus so they can charge you another amount to fix the virus. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE SLICK ADS FOR MY CLEAN PC seems to be the lesson learned!

This guy really knows his stuff, but I'm not sure if he thinks I'm an idiot or a savant (or perhaps an idiot savant). His office is on 3rd street and he told me that as I entered town, I would see 6th street, then I should go to 5th and then 4th and then 3rd. Like I couldn't count down from 6 to 3. But then he gets me into his workshop and he tosses out so much technospeak which just spews forth in a continuous stream. He's sitting down, I'm standing up. He can see the screen, I can't focus in it, and when I do see what he's talking about I can't make heads or tails of the stuff I'm seeing on the screen. And even if I could, it takes me longer to process and by the time I'm starting to process, he is 4 lines of code ahead of me.

We got the computer home and set back up again. The Guru has the laptop, now, which started just fine for him, though I tried for 2 days to get it to start, unsuccessfully. Walt is happy. He has his computer back, and I only added a dozen bookmarks to his system! :)

For those who have been following my mother's health problems, you must read the journal entry I wrote one year ago today. It is called "The Road to Wellville" When I read it, I called her and we both laughed a lot.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gooe Deeds? Feh.

Someone once said "no good deed goes unpunished." That's kind of how I'm feeling this afternoon.

I worked my shift at the book store yesterday, Walt picked me up, we came home, I posted yesterday's journal entry, packed up my stuff, got into the car and headed to my mother's. She had called to ask if I could pick up half a gallon of milk and some coffee creamer for her, so my first stop was to the supermarket to buy her stuff.

It was about 9 or so when I got there and when I handed her the stuff she had asked for, she sheepishly admitted that she had forgotten (a) that I was coming (despite three phone calls), and (b) that she had asked me to bring anything, so she had called my cousin and SHE had brought milk and coffee creamer. At least she won't need either of those items for awhile now.

I could see right away that this was not going to be a "good memory" visit. I was very sleepy, for some reason, so I wasn't up for visiting very long, but I answered the questions "what is my doctor's name?" and "why am I seeing him?" over and over again. She also insists she never made this appointment and had not even given the woman on the phone her personal information, though the FIRST thing you do on the phone before you walk to anybody is to give your medical record number.

But we went to the appointment. This was her orthopedist. She has a "trigger finger" which is extremely painful and the pain is eased by a cortisone shot, which lasts about a year. This was her third injection, the last being given in March of 2011, so it was just a routine visit and went without incident, which was a good thing.

I'm still trying to solve the problem of how to get access to my mother's records on line. Kaiser has a web site which I tried to set up for her and--totally my own fault--I screwed up because I forgot which log-in name I had used and which password I had used. I tried to get the password re-set, and it had to be mailed and then that re-mailed password didn't work either. Twice. I gave up, but with my mother's increasing memory problems, I felt it was more important that I stay on top of her appointments, her meds, and access to her doctor.

So this morning I called member services and the person I talked with told me that if I brought my mother to the member services office they could solve the problem for me right there.

Well. Not quite.

First, the member services office had moved. Ironically it is now about three blocks from my mother's house. We met with a rep, who says that no, they can't do anything for me. Nothing. But she did give me the number of their web master (it's an 800 number, so I don't think it's all that special a number!) and told me to call as my mother and see what they could help me with. ("but I never told you that.")

I can't do anything about it until I get my computer back, because all of the information I need to identify me as my mother is on the hard drive. Of course.

So I headed on home before lunch so Walt could have the car to go to San Francisco to meet Mike & Char for the symphony.

There is a road (Hwy 39) that connects Hwy 101 (where San Rafael is) to Hwy 80 (the road to Davis). It takes about 30 minutes to drive across it. Except for today, when there was an accident on 39 and the entire road was shut down, barricaded by Highway Patrol cars. We were all shunted off toward Napa as a detour. It took forever because there was a major accident on that road too. We were stopped long enough for me to send pictures and texts to Walt. When we started moving, it was about 2 mph for a long time.

I didn't really mind because I had my book to listen to and I could see that I would still get home in time for Walt to get the car, so I just relaxed and kept driving and listening.

I got home, gave the dogs their treats and went to turn on the computer. I had left it "shutting down" when I left for my mother's. It never occurred to me that it would not shut down. But it had not.

I finished shutting it down, then fired it up again and it got to the screen that says "Windows is starting..." where it has sat for 3 hours now. I tried starting it in "safe mode," and it starts just fine, but as soon as it gets to that "Windows is starting..." screen it just sits there.

I had been so cavalier about having the desktop with the guru because I had finally gotten my laptop set up so that it behaves like the desktop.

And now it, too, has screwed up on me. I guess when the desktop comes back, I will give the guru the laptop. And will beg and plead with Walt to let me use his laptop in the meantime and continue writing blog entries in HTML code (hoping I have gotten it right here!)

Addicted? Why yes I am addicted, why do you ask?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

God's Still Laughing

I started out the week talking about how if you wanted to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. That was the day that my plans had been to work in the book store, until my mother called to ask me to take her to the doctor, and I ended up spending the day and night in San Rafael.

I certainly had no plans to spend last night cleaning my office, disconnecting the computer and trying to set up this lap top to use while the computer is off in ICU until the virus can be removed.

And my plan for today had been to attend a 5-hour photography seminar north of Sacramento. It was to start at 4 so Walt and I planned to have our sushi dinner in honor of David's birthday tomorrow instead.

First I called my mother and was pleased to learn that she is starting to feel better. The meds are finally kicking in.

Next, I took the computer to my guru in Woodland. Fortunately, I already had the laptop set up here, so I didn't have to beg him to get the computer done speedily...just get it finished.

I came home, took a nap, and then went to get the camera I was going to learn on and get ready to go to the class. The battery in the camera was dead, so I went to change it, but I couldn't open the door where you put the battery.

That little slider at #1 was corroded and immovable and it was impossible to slide the battery door in the #2 direction. I tried and tried and Walt tried and tried and it just would not budge.

By this time I really wasn't feeling like going to the class anyway and so I decided not to go at all. I dropped a note to that effect to Facebook and someone suggested that I use a paste of baking soda and water on the lever. I did and miraculously I was able to free it up so that it slide back and forth, but I still couldn't move the battery door. I guess I'm going to have to take it to a camera shop, but there is none in Davis, nor in nearby Woodland, so I'll have to wait until I'm next going to Sacramento during the daytime.

In the meantime I had a call from the guru who told me that my computer was filled with so much dust and debris that it had been in danger of starting a fire, should a spark erupt near it. I don't know how often you open your computer to dust the inside, but he says it should be done twice a year. He said that the two memory sticks were so covered with dust that it explained why I've been having memory problems on the computer and that once he got all the dust cleared away, it showed that I had triple the usable memory than I had before. Who knew? Turns out Walt has cleaned the inside of his computer but never thought to suggest that to me. I honestly never thought about doing it, it being an enclosed system and all.

Anyway, he rattled on and on, as computer geeks do, explaining things that went way over my head because I don't have the technical lingo, but something about the CMOS burning out and his replacing it (I read the explanation of CMOS on Wikipedia and I'm more confused than ever...anyway the replacement will be less than $5.) He will get on eradicating the viruses starting on Monday and will call me next week. Thank goodness I am comfortable with this laptop.

While I was talking to the guru, Walt's sister called from the road and said she would be here in about half an hour. Walt invited her to go to a Japanese restaurant with us, which she was happy to do.

We went to Osaka Sushi in Woodland and had a lovely dinner, though I ended up not eating sushi after all.

This was on the "senior menu" and was just the right amount. We remembered David and enjoyed our food before coming back home.

Rather than face the dogs eagerly awaiting us at the front door. Alice Nan decided to just get in her car and head to her next stop, their brother's house, where she will watch the Super Bowl before heading back to Santa Barbara again.

I have no plans for tomorrow, which is probably better, since if I had, who knows what sort of monkeywrench God would toss into the works at me!

The one thing everyone remembers about Dave was his big smile.
Happy birthday, David, wherever you are...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pulling My Hair Out

It had been my intention to address all the commotion around the Komen Foundation's decision to remove funding from Planned Parenthood. The reversal of that decision took some wind out of my sails, but still doesn't really restore the full funding, merely states that they are free to apply for funds in the future.

However, I didn't have time to research the issue fully because my computer blew up on me.

It was a return of that Security Shield virus I got a couple of weeks ago. This is an alarming notice that pops up and tells you that you are in danger and you can only get out of danger by buying a program, supposedly (but not really) from Microsoft, that will clean up all the viruses that have accumulated.

It's insidious. It makes many of your program unusable. I tried opening up Notebook and got the blaring message that the program is infected and it won't let you use it. It also gives you a list of all the files on your computer which are infected with nasty viruses. It looks all official 'n' stuff.

When you try to open a supposedly infected file, a big red warning appears and you can't do anything. It keeps asking you "are you SURE you want to proceed without protection?" It's very effective, using lots of scary red and exclamation points and incredulity that you would even THINK of proceeding unprotected.

The "protection" "only" costs $80 and from all I've read, does nothing. There are tons of sites on line which say they can help you remove the virus and I tried one, waited 20 minutes or so and went through all the steps only to discover that this, too, wanted money to fix the problems and remove the virus.

I tried following some instructions for deleting the virus and I don't remember what I did at that time, but doing whatever I did and then doing a system restore seemed to work and I've had a few weeks of blissful ignorance.

But I picture this virus like some science fiction monster, which, when defeated, retreats to his cave and licks his wounds and then comes back bigger and stronger than ever.

The big strong Chtorr-like virus returned today. In spades...big, red spades. The faster I tried to work around it, the bigger the warnings got until I got a warning, when I tried to get to the System Restore screen, that filled my screen and could not be removed. I could only reboot the computer and the second I rebooted and got back in again, there was that damn blocking screen again. I was dead in the water.

So I called my guru. I wasn't even going to TRY to do anything with this thing, because I don't know how to tell the fake fixes from the real fixes. I wanted it done professionally. I made an appointment to take the computer in to his office in the morning.

That meant disconnecting it. Do you know how much dust accumulates on computer cords in a space of a few short years? I tried to take careful note of which cord went where, and tried to label which cord did what so I could restore it all when the computer comes back.

In the meantime, no problem--I would just use the laptop . I'd done it before. Only this time nothing went right. I finally got the cords straightened out and connected both of my back up hard drives to the computer, so I'd have access to most of (but not all of) my files.

When I fired up the computer, it showed that I was connected to the Sykes router, but that I had no internet connection. Walt and I tried almost everything and I was so frustrated. It was 10 p.m., and too late to call anyone at DCN to get help. I just figured I would have to go to Mishka's in the morning, which seemed crazy, since I have a perfectly good wifi connection here--heck, my CELL PHONE works, but neither computer did.

Finally Walt tried a different plug for the router to connect to the modem and suddenly we had internet connection again.

I always swear I am going to remember how to do all this stuff, but the problem is that I may go months or years before I need to know whatever it is that I learn during crises and since I can only barely remember things better than my mother, the chance of remembering something highly technical is essentially nil.

But I am back on line again and I can post this, I think. This will probably be a good time to install my new printer, now that I can't connect the current one to the laptop and I will go nuts without being able to write letters while the virus is being killed. But that probably won't get done tomorrow.

Have I mentioned that I hate computers? When they are good, they are very, very good--but when they are bad, they are horrid!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


There was disgruntledness in the pen pal community that people could not mail stuff with a postmark of 11/11/11, because the date was a holiday, and post offices were closed. Because I can't send mail on 11/11/11, I decided to follow the example of Jenconsin, who frequently writes random lists, and just mention eleven things that come to mind on 11/11/11 (except her list for 11/11 has 14 things on it)

* Jeri and Phil commemorated the date by sending a video message that they had taken at 11:11 on 11/11/11. Of course it arrived around 8:11 here, there being a 3 hours time difference.

* Peach and I were in the car headed home from my mother's when it was 11:11 in California and stopped to take a photo to send to Jeri and Phil.

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* It would have been cool if I'd returned home and found 11 pieces of mail awaiting me, but alas there were only 7.

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* One of THEM was a weird envelope (that white one in the middle there) addressed to me, with no return address, and containing 4 stapled typed pages with no salutation and no signature about supposed plagiarism by a photographer named Sally Mann. How I happened to get this letter, I have no idea!

* It would have been cool if Sally Mann was the photographer whose work I saw once on the Internet, who had blatantly plagiarized Ruth Bernhard's woman in a box series of photographs...

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...but I don't think it's the same person, at least not based on a quick Google search I did for Sally Mann's works.

* What did we do before Google?

* My computer is acting very weird these days. I'm sure it has a bunch of viruses, though I do run virus checkers religiously. For one thing, it changed the link to one of my bookmarks. The link is to the page where I upload Funny the World pages for the current month. The bookmark says "Nov11" and the link is to the folder that holds all the November files. Suddenly the link said "Jul11" and the link was to the folder the holds all the July files! I have no idea why it did that.

* It also changed my search engine of choice (Google) to Bing. I never added a link to Bing. I don't like Bing. Apparently my computer does.

* And it was acting so weird that I had to go away and watch an hour program on TV this afternoon to give it time to decide what it wanted to do. It eventually did. I never figured out why it was being so weird.

* Have I mentioned lately that I have a huge love-hate relationship with computers?

* This is random item #11 and it is appropriate to 11/11/11 because I was thinking about what there is that is significant about the number 11 in my life at the moment...and that brought me to the Photo of the Day. A nice round number of 11 photos of my 11 sponsored kids.

Anjali (India), Fred (Philippines), Shallon (Uganda), Briana (Haiti)
Emmanuella (Ghana), Henrique (Brasil), Leniel (Dominican Republic), Murugi (Kenya)
Theresa (Ghana), Wainaina (Kenya), Esther (Indonesia)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't Ring Dem Bells for Me

I think (mind, I say I think) that I have lots of virus protection, and I run them daily. The computer keeps proving me wrong, however. I am trying not to think that I bought this machine in 2003, which makes this ancient in computer years. As with our car, I love my computer and hate having to adjust to a new one, and even worse, adjust to a new operating system. Please let me keep my XP. We have worked so well together for so long.

However, "little things" are starting to go wrong and I am hoping this is not going to signal the beginning of the end of my beloved Dell.

For one thing, it's running slower. I am not talking about internet connection, I'm talking about everything. Sometimes photos that I move into PhotoShop pop right up, other times it may take 30 seconds or longer for a photo to load. I run mail through Mail Washer to weed out the spam and possible virus programs. I may be left with only four emails that are actually going to load into Outlook Express...sometimes this can take several minutes. For four e-mails.

But in my old age, I am starting to be peaceful about waiting. I no longer tap my foot impatiently during traffic slow-downs. I enjoy the extra time to listen to my audio book.

I don't sigh angrily when I am put on terminal hold on the telephone. I play few extra games of Free Cell.

I have decided that it's not worth the stress or the irritation to let stuff like this bother me and so I have resigned myself to my computer dealing with its aches and pains of old age, much as I am resigning myself to my own.

Some time ago I asked people on Facebook which browers they preferred, Firefox or Chrome, since I had heard good things about Chrome, but really like Firefox and know it very well. The verdict was overwhelming for Chrome vs. Firefox.

I was curious, so I downloaded Chrome and found many things I liked, but I also found things that I didn't like. I can't set it up to look like Firefox, for example, with a nice little bookmark column down the left side of the screen. But I am learning how to make the bookmarks work to my satisfaction, most of the time.

It's probably a good thing I have been working with Chrome because lately I'm having serious Firefox problems. Mostly this involves any time that I have to input additional information on a page that I have already connected to. For example, if I am adding a blog entry in Blogger and want to add a photo to that entry, when I click on the icon for adding the photo, it brings up the "add photo" box and then freezes. I have to close down Firefox completely to unfreeze it. If a guestbook entry calls up a separate box to sign, that freezes Firefox too and I have to shut it down. Pretty much any web page that brings up a separate box for anything will freeze Firefox.

Now, granted, this is a minor inconvenience and I'm learning to work around it, but I'm wondering what little gremlins are mucking around in my system to cause it in the first place.

The "work-around" is to call up the same page in Chrome and add the photo or guest book signature or whatever in Chrome.

It would seem logical, then, that I should just switch to Chrome completely. Ahhh, but that doesn't work either. Adding photos in Chrome is great, but I can't add the text where I want it to go. (This is probably because I'm using the older version of Blogger...damn all those new "improvements"). So now what I do is add all the photos in Chrome and publish the page, then call the page up in Firefox and edit, so I can add the text. It's cumbersome but it works.

But it's also damn inconvenient. Today, Chrome froze on me when I was trying to add a photo. I just hope this isn't a sign of things to come or I'll have to start adding photos on my LAPTOP and then calling them back up in Firefox on the desktop to edit the page.

I know that even with all the frustration I'm going through right now, this is still 1000% better than it was 10 years ago and I shouldn't complain, but it frustrates me when things stop working the way they "always" have.

And I'm also thinking back to when this machine was last serviced, about 3 years ago, when my guru told that "if I was lucky" it might last me another two years. I am putting my fingers in my ears and refusing to hear that death knell bonging ominously off in the distance.....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Day in Facebook Status Updates

About 7 am.:

This living without a phone is kinda nice. If you call our house you hear that the number has been disconnected. If anybody needs to contact me, send e-mail or call my cell phone.

An hour later:

OK. Everybody cross your fingers right now. AT&T is digging up the phone line. MAYBE we'll have a phone soon.

A bit after that:

Will today be the day? Another phone person is digging up phone lines to see if they can get us a phone AND a DSL connection.

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Meet Eduardo of
Irish Construction Company

After Eduardo left:

I spoke too soon. I forgot this is the age of specialization. Eduardo is the guy who digs the ditch to give the phone people access to the phone lines. No word on when/if the phone people will make an appearance today or not.

Two hours later:

Eduardo has gone and we have a trench. We don't have AT&T people and it's looking like rain, but gosh darn it, we have a trench.

A bit later:

There is a white plain paneled truck parked across the street. Either AT&T is here, or we are under surveillance. I'd better watch what I say, just in case

An hour after that:

Well, the panel truck was a gardener. Now we have Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). I think I saw this on a Marx Brothers movie once.

Some time after that:

Because I know you are all waiting on the edge of your seats for the next installment, now we have a city truck here along with the PG&E truck. One of them is marking where the trench guy needs to dig, despite the fact that the digging already took place and Eduardo is gone.

A couple of hours later:

It is now pouring rain and getting dark and AT&T calls my cell phone and says hey will be here in 30 minutes.

An hour later:

AT&T guy (Nathan) came. It's a zoo here*. He's here half an hour, charges us a hefty fee, finds a problem, fixes it, leaves, Walt uses his cell phone to call the house and the phone doesn't ring. Last I heard he was screaming "Oh shit!" and running outside to see if he could catch the guy before he leaves.

[the problem was apparently a short in the box in our guest bedroom, where the wire for Walt's computer connects and then goes over the ceiling to the other end of the house to connect to his computer. By the time Walt got back in the house after talking with Nathan, the phone was working.]

A few minutes later:

OK. I have internet. House phone rings when you call the house number. Our caller ID works. Even the recording of the 1812 Overture which plays when Walt calls (and I don't have a CLUE how I programmed that) works. MAYBE we're finally done...

...but it turns out that we are not. Everything IN the house is fine, but remember Eduardo? He's the "fill in the trench" guy, but he's not the wiring guy, so when he left, he had filled in most of the trench that had been dug by the trench digging guy. But he left this:

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This is where the wire from our house goes under our neighbor's fence to go under the small manhole cover on our neighbor's driveway. But Eduardo is not a wiring guy, so he can't put the wiring in the hole and make the manhole cover flush with the concrete again.

So we wait. Again. But at least if they forget to come back, we can now CALL them on our land line!

(And BTW, yes, I'm aware that you can have the DSL and land line on the same phone number and we are so glad that we don't. This would be 1000% worse if BOTH lines were out. It's worth paying for the second phone line to have the option of a spare line to use if one goes out)

Oh yeah--and one last thing. When they go to put those wires back in the ground? They have to disconnect our service to do it.

*"It's a zoo here." Picture it. I'm sitting in the recliner giving Patty her bottle. The other puppies are wrestling in the cage. Sheila, Lizzie and Polly are leaping at the window trying to get to Nathan, I get a gate and manage to get them all locked in the living room.

Walt, thinking he's going to have to move all the furniture upstairs and that Nathan will also need to look at the phone jacks in the living room, races upstairs yelling that I will have to hold all the dogs for Nathan. I dump Patty back in the cage. She starts screaming because she hadn't finished her bottle. I let Nathan in and direct him upstairs to Walt.

I somehow get Lizzie and Sheila on leashes, since they need to be out of the living room, but Polly won't come near me because a STRANGER is in the house, and she has learned that usually when a stranger comes, I give her to that stranger and the stranger takes her away. She's not coming within 5 feet of me.

I get treats for all three and, leaving Lizzie and Sheila in the living room, drop Polly's in the downstairs bathroom and then lock her in there. Before I let the big dogs out of the living room, I go in the bathroom with Polly and manage to corner her and pick her up. Then I let the big dogs out of the living room and, holding both leashes in one hand, I try to open the door to the small cage on top of the puppies' cage and I shove Polly in there and lock the door. I yell upstairs to Walt that I am taking the dogs for a walk.

Fortunately it had stopped raining and the dogs were thrilled, but it's pitch black out, the streets are wet and there are wet leaves all over the place. In the best of conditions, my balance is not terrific, and I'm afraid I'm going to wind up on my keester somewhere, so we only walk around the block and Nathan is still upstairs with Walt when we get back. I lock the big dogs in my office, take screaming Polly out of the small cage and hold her with an iron grip in my lap. Patty continues to demand her bottle.

I laughed when Nathan came in, his feet encased in paper slippers so as not to track anything in my house. I wanted to apologize to him for the dirt, leaves, and dog poop on the floor!

As for Walt, the amount of stuff he moved in about 5 minutes was amazing. Both bathrooms were filled with boxes and books, and things had been moved everywhere. He said he felt like he was doing a set change for a theatrical production.

If there is anything positive (other than having everything work again) it is that this is the holiday season and we need to give joy to others at this time of year. I figure we have given Nathan material to dine out on for years, as he recounts his visit to this crazy house!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Saga Continues

We are still without a phone.

Jason from AT&T came out this morning and was here for about half an hour, after which the land line worked just fine, and the DSL line worked just fine. The only problem was that we didn't have caller ID on the downstairs phone. He kind of played around with that a bit and said he'd have to come back when he could go through the wall connections (which meant we'd have to do major furniture moving).

About 10 seconds after he left, the phone rang. I thought it was Walt calling to test the line. I picked it up and it was this guy I try to dodge every year. He always greets me like a long lost friend, cheery in the used car salesman sort of way. He is selling tickets for kids to go to a ball game (baseball? football? I don't remember). I never buy from him because he just sounds so sleazy. And so I try to avoid him. I told him AT&T was working on the line and that I couldn't talk and hung up on him.

And then the line died. My bad Karma, I guess. As we watched Jason and his truck vanish into the distance, we were once again without a DSL line.

It turns out that we have a choice. We can either have the internet or a land line, but if we try to put both on one line with a splitter, one cancels out the other. The only number we can get to work is the DSL line...and nobody knows that number. Heck, even *I* don't know that number and we've had it for about 10 years.

Walt called AT&T immediately and they said they would try to reach Jason (who, apparently, was not answering his cell phone). They said if they couldn't get him back here, they would put in an additional work order to have someone else come out. Presumably some time before the end of the year. In the meantime, I have internet and if anybody desperately needs to reach us, it will have to be either by e-mail or by our cell phones.

After Jason left, I let the puppies outside again. Where yesterday they had been very cautious about being out in the Big Wide World, today they are getting more bold. At first they huddled together near the house, but when I moved them out to the grass, a long way from the house, they began moving more and soon, chasing each other, and us, around the yard. So cute.

Of course, I made a big mistake when it was time to bring them back in. I scooped up Laverne with one hand and then went to take Max with the other, but Max is such a big floppy horse that I nearly dropped him. Note to self: Two hands needed to pick Max u in the future!

We now have a dinnertime routine with the puppies. The minute they see me move, all three are wide awake and racing out of the cage. Max waddles over to the water bowl to drink and Laverne flops over on her back to suck on his penis. I swear these are the most oral puppies ever. Then Patty starts trying to climb up the fence because she wants a bottle. I fix their kibble and put it in the cage and all three attack it. They used to leave lots for Shiloh to clean up, but now they eat every single morcel. And as soon as they finish, Patty is back at the fence again, crying, loudly, for a bottle.

I give it to her.

PattyBottle2.jpg (107459 bytes)

She's this big horse, but she needs to suck. So, apparently, does Laverne, but she has found her own thing to suck on. I am gradually weakening what Patty gets in the bottle, so it is getting to be slightly formula flavored water now. I'm going to try getting pacifiers for both Patty and Laverne and see if I can get them interested in those, but I'm not hopeful. They both love their oral fixations so much!

Here's a good question: which will happen first...will the puppies wean or will AT&T get our phone problems fixed?