COVID-19: Day 23: A Day of Rest

korbel

I have a bottle of Korbel Brut left over from Valentine’s Day in my refrigerator.  I’m going to pop it open when this quarantine is over.  Cheers to us all!

I haven’t exactly been busting my butt during this quarantine, but I gave myself permission to do diddly squat today.  Other than to make French toast and bacon, that’s exactly what I did.

I was a sloth, a slug and a slumberer.  I had 3 naps.  Long naps.  I slept most of the day.  I’m apt to be up all night.  I figured it was inevitable during this quarantine that I would get my days and nights mixed up, so I’m probably right on schedule.

I am still without WiFi.  I’m living through it, but it’s not pretty.  Much like this quarantine, it is completely disrupting the rhythm of my day.  Because the only machine that can reach the outside world is on the 2nd floor of my house and the coffee pot and wine are on the first floor of the house, I am up and down the stairs a gazillion times a day.

The phone has short, very short, periods where it can get a signal long enough to pull in a text message or two.  I am usually unable to answer before the connection is lost.  My friends probably think I'[m not speaking to them.  Alas.  There is nothing I’d rather do.  I love where I live, but not being able to get a cell signal most of the time is aggravating.  And the primary reason I still have a landline.

The landline works.  I tried to call my mom.  It seems her phone was out of order.  Technology is going to both be my savior and my downfall.

Here’s to Day 23.  Cheers!

COVID-19: Day 21: And technology fails me

iphone-11-pro-max-space-gray

The other day, I was trying to have a conversation on my iPhone when the speaker phone kept cutting off.  Now I’ve gotten to be hard of hearing and I need that speaker phone.  No amount of tweaking, tech support, Apple chat, etc. etc. could get it to stop turning itself off after about a minute.

I’ve been lusting after the new iPhone.  That camera!  And, by golly, I was up for an upgrade.  So I did it.  I ordered the latest and greatest phone.  It arrived today and my internet promptly went down.  So I went to the grocery store thinking all would be well upon my return.

An aside:  I did the Kroger Clicklist.  Once again they were out of a lot of the stuff I ordered.  Pinto beans, yeast, potatoes, ham hocks, egg noodles and Spam.  I have a powerful hankering for both beans and cornbread AND scalloped potatoes with Spam.  Evidently, I’m to have neither.  I did stop at the Dollar General and find bow-tie pasta to substitute for the egg noodles.  Tuna casserole is in my near future.  Don’t laugh.  I make a mean tuna casserole!

All was not well upon my return.  I called Frontier.  Blessedly, I got competent folk each of the 4 times I called.  They would do this.  They would do that.  They would do something else and then VOILA my wireless would work for 15 minutes and then go down.  By the 5th time I called, I was getting desperate.  A very nice tech support guy apologized for all the problems and declared I needed a new modem.  I had suggested this on phone call number 1.  Never mind.

So, I am without wireless until Wednesday maybe Thursday.  This means I am tied to this behemoth of a desktop on the second floor of my house in the hottest room during an expected stretch of warm weather.  It also means I can’t set up the new phone as I need wireless to transfer from Phone A to Phone B.  I am not a happy camper.

COVID-19: Day 14: Oh Good Grief

So, it’s been one of those days.

I decided that part of the reason I was so discombobulated was that both my schedule and my routine were completely whacked.  So I set to finishing setting up the home office.  Before today, I was working here and there and had stuff scattered everywhere.  My sleep has been disturbed so I’ve been working at 4 a.m. and 2 a.m. and 7:17 a.m.  All of this had to stop.  So I decided, starting Monday, I will keep regular hours.

So.

I gathered everything together and took it to my home office.  The home office has been neglected for some time.  The first order of business was to clear the desk.  There wasn’t any room to work for all the flotsam and jetsam of my writing life.  Then I had to hook up the big monitor to the tower.  I’m too old to do spreadsheets on a small monitor.  There was a cable compatibility problem.  I had to cannibalize one monitor to get the type of cable I needed.  It’s a good thing I have a closet full of computer equipment.

It’s also a bad thing.  I think that’s where the chipmunk might have been, though I can’t be sure.  The dogs were whining and carrying on so I took down the baby gate that keeps them out of my office.  While I was busy with the cord problem, they were uncharacteristically quiet.

I should have known.

I turned around and almost stepped on a very dead, partly eviscerated chipmunk.

I don’t do dead things well.

After a necessary freak-out period, I went downstairs and got the dustpan to scoop up the poor little thing.  I did.  And then I put it in a garbage bag.  I then went to wash my hands, but, silly me, I left the plastic bag on the floor.  The dogs retrieved the chipmunk.

A chase ensued.

My nerves are shot.  AND THEN I tried to hook up the printer.  I won’t bore you, but it too was a comedy of errors but there was no loss of life involved.

I get the printer hooked up and discover it’s out of ink.  Won’t print.  I desperately need to print.   I fired up the ‘puter and went to my go-to places for ink.  Nobody can guarantee me delivery in a timely manner due to high demand.  Apparently, I am not the only person who has a home printer out of ink.

After searching, I do find ink that might be here Monday.  But might not.  No guarantees due to high demand.

I have a high demand for some relief from this day.  And I’m going to have it.  Right now.

Happy Sequestration!

Computer Woes and Whatnot

EmnyLou 012A couple of weeks ago I was sitting, minding my own business, at the laptop drinking coffee when Emmylou surprised me with a running leap into my lap.  It ended with coffee all over the keyboard.  I did all the things you’re supposed to do in such a situation to no avail.

The laptop keyboard refuses to work.  It’s had plenty of time to dry out.  The mouse and touchpad work fine, but no dice on the keyboard.

Sigh.

So, I bought a refurbished laptop with Windows 7 Pro on it, but that’s going back. The wifi wouldn’t work.  In a fit of desperation, I found an older model, but brand new laptop with Windows 7.  It arrived today.

I hate setting up computers.

Hate it.

Part of my job is tech support and I’m responsible for setting up new computers.  Right now, I have 10 laptops and 2 desktops waiting on me.  I didn’t need a disaster at home.

But I love Emmylou, I do I do.

No matter how many times I do it, there’s always a glitch, a problem, a snafu, a something.  Right now, the user interface for Facebook on the new laptop is unusable.

I’m disgruntled.

MarinedaddyIt’s been a lovely day, though.  Today is Veteran’s Day and I’ve been deep in thought about my dad’s Marine Corps experience as well as my own military brat upbringing.  I had my contractor out here to do a bunch of honey-dos that aren’t really honey-dos if you have to pay, but you know what I mean – just minor repairs to this and that.  Well, minor, except maybe for the roof.  Hoo boy, I don’t need bad news there.

I’m getting my mojo back.  It’s been a long two and half years, but I feel like I’m settling back into myself.  We’ll see.  I’m hopeful.

I hate vacuuming.

uprightI hate to vacuum. Passionately hate to vacuum. It’s not a mere dislike or simple dreaded task, it is full blown animosity. The only machine I share the same feelings for is Beelzebub of Bobbinhood.

With vacuuming, I have two current machines to torment me and a lifetime of ones that mocked my efforts at clean carpet.

I believe my feelings for vacuuming stem from two sources: my mother loved to vacuum and I have exceptionally long hair. These are pertinent, really they are.

My mother finds vacuuming to be a life affirming activity – so much so that she vacuums when stressed, when ill, when happy, when sad, when the floor is dirty, when she’s bored, and as a preamble to any other housekeeping chore. The vacuum cleaner was the soundtrack of my childhood. Television programs, conversations between friends, secrets whispered into a phone were all drowned out by the roar of the Hoover or Dirt Devil or the Vacuum du Jour. If your mother is a passionate vacuumer, how do you rebel? By only doing it when a) the filth has come to the attention of the Health Department or b) someone is coming over.

canisterSince I don’t vacuum hourly, or even weekly, the debris is a bit challenging what with dogs, cats, a dirt road, and a not-particularly-fastidious human. Add to this 30” strands of hair that wind about the brush bar and you have a disaster.

If I could just vacuum and be done with it, I might do it more often. But no. Alas and alack. Each vacuum adventure begins with dragging the damn thing out, turning it on and finding it will not suck. The suckiest household chore of all and neither machine will snort even a whisper of dust. It has nothing to do with the quality of the machines. I think in a past-life I must have done grievous harm to inventor of the vacuum cleaner. It’s all I can figure.

I have hundreds of dollars invested in vacuums. All of them, after a dance or two about the house, become possessed by demons.

Each session begins with cursing. Then there is the application of scissors to cut the hair into manageable pieces so the beater bar will turn freely. Then there’s the cane I use to poke down the hose to free the clogs of cat hair, dust bunnies and the stray leaf. It can take up to an hour of fiddle farting before any suction is achieved. Just as I stroll victorious through the bedroom pushing the damn thing, it will attempt to suck up the dust ruffle, or the puppy, or a phantom and the belt will break.

I buy belts in six packs. From Amazon.

Another hour tearing the machine apart to figure out how to put the belt on. It’s different each time. I swear it is.

Sometimes, I can’t bear it. Just can’t. So I drag out the backup machine. This one is pricey canister vacuum as opposed to an upright. It’s even more evil as something somewhere is not quite right and the gizmo attaching the thinger that seals the hose to achieve suction often doesn’t. So we’ll play unhook it, clean it out, says a prayer or two, reassemble it, test, rinse and repeat until finally it will attempt to suck.

In anyone else’s hands, the canister would be an overachiever – sucking up furniture given the opportunity. In my hands, it leaps at the curtains which causes a circuit to trip and I have to take the whole damn thing apart to reset the circuit.

I hate vacuuming. I do. I really do.

I vacuumed yesterday. I didn’t do a particularly stellar job at it as machine 1 clogged, wouldn’t beat and broke a belt when I’m all out of belts and machine 2 wouldn’t suck for the first 45 minutes.

Still. There is some of my mother in me. I am enjoying relatively clean carpet.

 

Before sound, color, pictures, mice and broadband OR Uli is not a serial killer

I found this video languishing in a draft post (no text) and am wondering why I never posted it.

The video is dated 1993. By 1993, I had more than 4 years of hanging out on the net.

By 1993, my family and friends were heartily sick of hearing about my Imaginary Friendsand said so. I quipped they were not imaginary, just invisible. I was hanging out long before any graphic other than an ASCII drawing was possible.

The only color was provided by the eerie green screen and the only sound the bump and grind of the modem.  No mouse, just a keyboard.  Hard drives thousands times smaller than flash drives given away as promotional items.

I’ve been a relatively early-adopter of most technologies. I held out on the cell phone (and sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t be still holding out) and was “late” to Twitter even though when I began using it while most folks still didn’t know what it was.

I resisted Facebook for a long time. Meeting folks I didn’t know and, under normal circumstances, would never know was the charm of this new frontier.  Why do I want to talk on the net to people I see regularly?  The very term, seemingly already passe, Web 2.0 irked me.

I met some wonderful folks – many who are still part of my life and some I’ve lost track of.  When Usenet (the first social network sharing site) exploded, I became an addict.  Usenet died as Web 1.0 grew.  I embraced the new, because it really was new.  It really was improved.  Until it wasn’t.

Commensurate with the rapid changes of the Internet were rapid changes to hardware and software. I kept up, for years and years and years.

I’m weary of learning curves. Very weary. Exhausted, in fact. I’m tired of new versions of software that don’t do anything of interest to me that the old version didn’t do. In fact, it seems to me that much of new software is about as new as “new” editions of college textbooks. In short, it’s all just a bunch of switching stuff around to make it look new and reap some more profit.

Contrary to my expectations, I have met folks on Facebook that I couldn’t possibly have met otherwise and I treasure some of those relationships, but Facebook has gotten on one of my last nerves. [If you’ve been reading any of my whining, you know I don’t have a lot of nerves left.]

This nonsense of “improving” the “user interface” has reached critical mass. As mentioned, I resisted Facebook for a long time. I’m an uneasy user as it is. Facebook has all but killed a listserv I love.  If they continue to change things for the sake of change, my log-in is going to get dusty.

According to something I read years ago, nostalgia sets in at about 20-30 years at which time “retro” interest kindles. Disco had a short revival early in the millennium. 80s music is (apparently) experiencing a small revival. Fashions I wore in my misspent youth are appearing on runways.

I’m advocating for a retro-net – a place where nobody knows your name and you’re judged on your ability to communicate and defend an opinion.

Yes, yes, I’m waxing nostalgic. There were assholes in the Wild West of Cyberia. “Flame Wars” were routine. Misinformation was rampant – $250 cookie recipe anyone?

But I miss it in ways I don’t miss my youth. While I took some delight in being part of a new technology that the very idea of confounded most folks, the human connection delighted me. The ideas knocked me out. Introductions to new and fascinating topics of conversation rocked my world.  At lunch with friends, I would find myself saying, “Uli was just telling me. . .”  Who’s Uli?, they would ask.  “My friend in Sweden.”  How’d you meet?  My answer would, of course, lead to shocked expressions and tales of serial killers. If you knew Uli like I know Uli, you would smile at the idea of Uli and serial killers.

I remember the amazement when it became possible to share photos – being careful to resize them.  Even with the blazing speed of a 9600 baud modem, downloading a photo could take an hour.  [My first modem was 300 baud and my first PC, by no means state of the art, was $3300 and loaded with nothing but a dos operating system.]

On Facebook, I’m more apt to get an invitation to play a stupid game before I’m offered a well-written opinion that causes me to rethink my own. Or to defend mine.

I’m offered cute pet photos, but no shaggy dog stories. I’m offered links to others’ opinions which presumably I’m to guess is shared by sharer. I’m bombarded by advertising and “friends” I only hear from when they’ve embarked on yet another MLM scheme.

Who decided 240 characters (or whatever it is) is all I need to describe my status? I sometimes need that much for a title.

While this blog gives me some of the leeway with words that I miss, it’s essentially a one-way communication. Oh how I would love to see my comment section light up with “you’re wrong and this is why” comments. Of course, that would necessitate I post something resembling an opinion that I’m prepared to defend.

Along with many of us oldtimers, I’ve gotten lazy about what I release to the wild. Perhaps because the wild has gotten too tame. Perhaps, because I have.

In any event, I miss it.

And, yes, this post is sans-graphics other than the video. Intentionally. Words rule.