New

…and somewhat improved.

Faithful readers may recall that I recently had trackpad problems with my Macbook. “Problems” in the sense that it utterly refused to work.

So I ordered a previously enjoyed 2020 model. Needless to say, it was slated for arrival on the very day that I departed for the City. In fact, I passed the UPS truck on my way down the Ridge, and I thought, “I bet they’re delivering my MacBook”, and it turned out they were. It was still waiting for me on my front porch when I got home two days later. This is one of the benefits of living in the depths of the country, or, as my stepmother used to call it, “the back of beyond”.

As you know, I tend to be technology averse, using things until they no longer work, and there’s a good reason for this. New is rarely improved, and my ability to deal with new technology is as limited as my math skills (i.e., close to non-existent). So I approached the new silver machine with caution.

I was correct in this, since it turned out that the new computer did not have enough space to store all the things from the 10 year old one, which astonished me. I just figured the newer one would have more space. I should have read the fine print more carefully. Or, like, at all.

So I sent it back, and kept on using the old computer with a mouse. Using a mouse with a laptop is not fun. Eventually, I got the refund for New Computer I, and proceeded to order New Computer II, which I made sure had the same capacity as Old Computer.

Unfortunately for my aesthetic sense, New Computer II is a depressing, Stalinesque grey:

It was not possible to get one in shiny silver that had enough room to transfer everything, so I had to choose function over style, and you know how I hate that. I solved that by getting a sparkly, rose-pink cover:

though the inside remains resolutely ugly:

I really dislike the touchbar thing, and I am still trying to get more comfortable with the trackpad, despite adjusting the settings. I miss the light up apple on the front and all my bookmarks disappeared from Chrome. Two calls to Apple Support did not result in fixing this. I really miss my cooking bookmarks the most.

Also, it does not have USB ports, so I had to get an adapter in order to back up the computer or copy things to and from hard drives, for backing up, and more importantly, Girl Night(TM):

On the plus side, I really like how lightweight it is and how long the battery lasts, I think about 24 hours, and the touch to unlock feature, which seems like the future the Jetsons promised us*. Also? The trackpad works. At least for now.

*Where’s my robot maid and flying car?

A YEAR AGO: Little Dodge turned five.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Enjoying Bookstore Day with my sister.

TEN YEARS AGO: Lots of fun.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A noisy Mother’s Day.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: A Mother’s Day mix-up.

Miscellaneous

It’s the last day of March. The month flew by quickly, and spring is making its presence known. Somehow, the bear-attracting apple tree has blossomed without my noticing the bud stage at all:

and the trees in the long curves at Caspar and Little River are misted with leaves of that heart-breaking, almost electric green that they only have when newborn.

******

When I leave for work in the morning, I give the cats treats to distract them, and before I go out the door, I always take a look back at the house:

It always seems like the most beautiful place when I’m about to venture out into the Wide World. And we all know no good ever comes of doing that.

******

I’m getting a new computer. My current model is from 2012. The trackpad no longer works, and the black plastic connecting the screen to the rest of it is badly frayed and missing entirely in some places.

I had trackpad problems a couple of years ago, which were expensively resolved. Or resolved-ish, since they have reared their ugly heads again. I brought the ailing laptop to someone else this time, and he said the battery was swollen and had to be replaced, and that the swelling was what made the trackpad refuse to click. He relieved me of $150 for taking the battery out of another laptop and putting it in mine.

When I got home, I discovered that not only did it not click, I couldn’t drag anything. I thought about getting another technician to look at it, but it’s 10 years old and I have already put more than enough money into it. It’s time to get a new to me laptop. And ask if I can give back the battery and get a refund.

******

I stopped at the post office on my way to work this morning, my usual time for this chore. I came across a young homeless guy in there, and he asked me if I knew what time it was. I didn’t, because I had left my phone in the car*, but I gave him my best guess, based on when I left the house. He said, “Thank you, sweetheart”. He was probably in his 20s, so I found it unusual that he would call me that, though I enjoyed it as much as I always do. He also asked me when the Gro opened, which I could tell him, and as I left the post office, he said cheerfully, “Have a good day, sweetheart!” It was a nice start to the day.

I seem to be encountering homeless guys a fair bit recently. There is one who often sleeps under the tent at work where we do COVID shots and testing. I say hello to him in the morning if he’s awake, and try not to wake him up if he’s not. He works at McDonalds, but still doesn’t have a place to live. I think we both like seeing each other in the morning. I’m hoping he can get back on his feet soon.

*My cute pink iPod died a few weeks ago, so I’m now using Apple Music. Still figuring it out. It has a lot of drawbacks compared to the iPod. I really am not a fan of change, especially in technology.

A YEAR AGO: My brother was off on an adventure

FIVE YEARS AGO: Enjoying the ballet.

TEN YEARS AGO: A surprise gift.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Some coincidences.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: My favorite flowers bring back some happy memories.

Repairs

For months, my MacBook was acting up in the manner of a surly teenager, refusing to do things when asked and dragging its feet when forced to fulfill my eminently reasonable requests. I spent a lot of time with the spinning ball, and despite its multi-colored festiveness, this did not endear it to me. Doing anything, even writing these simple missives and editing the visual aids to go with them, took an inordinate amount of time.

Patience is not, as you, one of my few virtues (what ARE those, anyway?), but my impatience was locked in a battle of wills with my innate reluctance to ever upgrade anything or buy a new anything until the previous anything died, usually of old age. Faithful readers may recall that my sister’s inability to deal with the limitations of my old phone drove her to replace it at her own expense earlier this year. Also that it took time (three long visits to the unenjoyable Verizon store) and money (nearly $22 hard-earned dollars!) to get things (allegedly) transferred to the new phone. I never did get all my contacts, and what I have is mostly outdated. Bet you’ll be amazed to hear that I have done exactly nothing about this.

Eventually, my hand was forced by the MacBook going behind my back and upgrading its operating system, thus rendering Word and Excel inoperable. They had a ghostly X over them. So my battered old computer with its shiny new operating system finally went for a visit to the computer repair folks, whose office is in the historic building that used to be the lumber company’s store back in the 19th century.

I should not have been surprised that it took longer than the promised two days to get my MacBook back. Even after all these years, I: a) believed them; and 2) completely ignored the Mendo Factor™. It took more like a week, and in the lengthy interim, I found having to write emails and do internet searches on my phone about as efficient and enjoyable as the spinning ball era on the computer. Like five days of the power shut off last fall, the computerlessness seemed to go on forever.

Eventually, it was ready, and of course I was notified when the shop was five minutes from closing. I raced over there from work. They had replaced the hard drive, transferred everything, reinstalled Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and relieved me of $309. The computer looked cleaner than it had in months, or possibly years.

When I got it home, I discovered that there was an issue with the trackpad, where the cursor wouldn’t move or got stuck. I managed to increase the speed in the preferences, and it worked well sometimes and not others. The computer guy said to clean the trackpad with rubbing alcohol and see if that did the trick. I didn’t point out that it was cleaner than it had been since it was new, and tried the rubbing alcohol anyway. There was no discernible difference, but I was reluctant to part with the computer yet again, so I just put up with it. Eventually, it started working fine, I know not why. I just know I’m glad it works. For now.

A YEAR AGO: The many joys of the County Fair, Part 1.

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Fair was beautiful and glamorous, two of my favorite things.

Books

I tend to be technology resistant.

The polar opposite of the people who wait in line overnight for the latest iPhone, I tend to use things until they no longer work. I view software updates with suspicion, knowing that good rarely (if ever) comes of them. I used my old iPhone 5S until it no longer held a charge and exasperated my sister so much that she bought me a refurbished 7, along with screen protector and case. I am writing this on a MacBook Pro hailing from 2012, and the iPod I listen to during my daily commute is more than 10 years old:

I think it’s really cute, and I dread the day it gives up the iGhost and I have to buy a new one, since they are so hideous and giant now. It seems all you can get is the “Touch” ones. I just want the tiny, sparkly, jewel-like one I have, which only plays music and looks cute doing it. Is that too much to ask?

So you probably won’t be surprised that I didn’t embrace the Kindle’s appearance in my life. I named it Ethel, a nice, old-fashioned name for a 21st century device, and wasted no time in getting rid of the obnoxious and ubiquitous ads, which were not less annoying because they were in black and white.

Over time, I began to appreciate Ethel’s good qualities, like her lightness in my handbag so I could read at lunch time, and her lit screen so I could read in bed without the light on. A lot of the books I wanted from the library were not available in Ethel format, though.

One day this week, one of the receptionists at work called me to say someone had dropped something off for me. I was delighted by this mini mystery, especially since it arrived in a plain brown bag. Inside, I found two library books, including the excellent Eight Perfect Mysteries, delivered by the kind-hearted local librarian. Finally: a perk of being the library board president!

Just a couple of days later, My good friend Erin dropped off a couple of books for me which she had really enjoyed. Desk side book delivery, twice in one week! You have to love that.

FIVE YEARS AGO: A South Coast adventure.

TEN YEARS AGO: Knee surgery for my brave little sis.

Phone

I got to work one morning to find a box on my desk.

I knew I hadn’t left it there, and you will probably not be surprised to learn that I like to leave my desk tidy to make the reentry to work as pleasant as possible, just like I always made sure to come home to a clean house back in the long ago days when I used to travel*.

Upon investigation, I discovered that it was an iPhone 7, with a sparkly pink case and a screen protector. Megan got it for me refurbished from Amazon! I was both surprised and touched.

I knew I needed a new phone. I had a 5S, which is obsolete by technology standards. The battery did not hold a charge, and the phone would die suddenly and then when I plugged it back in again it would be at 43% or something, never a good sign.

I was also unable to text from the house most of the time, since there is no cell reception and my phone was too old to use wifi for texting. Texts would sometimes go if I stood right by the bedroom window, but not always and not reliably. Mostly I would get a little red “Undeliverable” message.

After work that day, I took the new phone and the old one to the Verizon store (amazingly, there actually is one in the Big Town), where they tried not to laugh at the age of the old one. They charged me $21.76 to transfer my data from old to new. When I got home, I discovered that my apps, texts, and contacts had not been transferred. I went back the next day after work, but failed to bring old phone with me, so a third visit was required.

It was a different person on each visit, and on this one, they told me that my old phone was too old to transfer the apps to the new one and that I would have to download them individually from the cloud. I was more saddened than I should have been to discover that this reset my game scores to 0. At least they were able to recover the other information, though it took an hour and a half to do so. I guess the lesson here is to replace the phone before it becomes completely obsolete.

*It appears to be four years since I was in San Francisco! I am not sure when the last time was that I left the County. I’m pretty sure it’s been a while.

A YEAR AGO: Thinking about the past and how it still lives on.

FIVE YEARS AGO: It seems to be a nostalgic time of year. I’m sorry to tell you that our childhood home has been destroyed and replaced by a monstrosity, and also that most of the land has been sold off in parcels. You really can’t go home again.

TEN YEARS AGO: The beautiful June Bug (Audrey’s sister) was taking a nap. She would disappear forever just four months later. I will always miss her.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: My crazy road trip to Florida.

Predicta-ment

One morning, I heard a text while I was getting ready for work. Usually, texts at 6:00 am are from my sister, who is still at work after her long night shift. So early morning texts do not scare me the way late night phone calls still do*.

I went to see what was up, and it turned out to be my boss, letting me know that the power was out at the clinic. A flurry of texts ensued from other staff members with updates as I applied mascara and lip gloss and headed out the door. Since the power had gone out at about 3:00 am, I figured it would be up and running by the time I got to work around 7:00.

This prediction was correct, but although there were lights and power, the servers were still down, rendering our computers useless plastic boxes, at least temporarily.

While the IT guys worked away at the computer issues, I caught up on my filing and other things that did not require computers. It was a good feeling to get that stuff done. I always wonder why I don’t keep up with it on an ongoing basis. I have the same thoughts after cleaning the house, but with the same (lack of) results.

Speaking of electricity, Jonathan and Rio acquired a fantastic vintage TV set (delightfully) called a Predicta:

predicta

Like the computers at work, the Predicta is temporarily non-operational, but I have faith that my brother can get it back in working order. If he could make a temporarily non-working very vintage telescope into a NASA-worthy contraption, he can do the same for the Predicta.

While he scouts for parts, we are amusing ourselves by thinking of appropriately retro TV shows to watch on it, like The Munsters and Peter Gunn and Perry Mason. And we are always going to refer to it as The Predicta.

A YEAR AGO: Dinner and a movie.

* I still think “Mom” when the phone rings, even though she has been gone for so long. And I always think it will be bad news.

Cut Off

So, yeah. Still no internet at Suzy Manor as of Saturday morning.

The technician did not show up on my blog’s birthday/anniversary last week. I called them three times that day. The first time, they said that the technician would call me back in 15 minutes. He didn’t. The second time, they said they would call me back with an update. They didn’t. The third time, they told me that the appointment had been double booked somehow and the two appointments, like a double negative, had cancelled each other out.

This was despite the fact that I had called them the evening before to confirm the appointment and was told that it was a priority appointment since the internet had then been out for over a week.
.
They made another appointment for that Friday. The same evening, I received a call from the local (or possibly local-ish) dispatch guy, who informed me that:

  • There was no technician in my area on Friday, so the Friday appointment was not going to happen.
  • The earliest a technician would/could be there was Tuesday the 26th.
  • The folks who answer the 800 number, which I called three times on the day of Appointment One, do not have the capability of contacting the technicians, so the technician was never going to call me that day. Nor was the Friday appointment ever going to happen. And they knew it.

That’s a lot of lying in a relatively short time frame. By the time service is restored – assuming it actually does happen on Appointment Three (three times the charm?) it will have been out for two weeks.

I will have to call them again at some point and ask that they prorate the bill, but I just can’t deal with it now. Also my faith that they will do so is hovering at about the same level as my belief that they will show up on Tuesday, which is to say, Not At All.

UPDATE: I am pleased to report that as of Tuesday afternoon, the internet is reportedly working at my hippie hovel! Apparently the problem was something to do with a connection problem inside the modem and a faulty cable. Or something. Insert Charlie Brown teacher voice here. It only took two weeks and six phone calls!

A YEAR AGO: A perfect day.

Merry Anniversary

I’m celebrating my blog’s 15th(!) anniversary (birthday?) by hopefully getting internet service restored at my hippie hovel.

It’s been out for about a week – undoubtedly the ever-exorbitant bill will not be prorated, due to the ever-useful small print – and my blog’s birthday was the earliest the technician could get there. I’m hoping that he does in fact show up and is able to find my house. Also that he can both diagnose and correct the problem.

In the meantime, I’ve been taking my laptop to work so I can at least check my email when I’m on a break. My neighbor’s spotty and unsecured wifi has occasionally let me hitch a ride, but mostly it shows up as working while not allowing webpages to go or email to come and go. Cell phone service is so bad at my house that I am forced to have a landline, and needless to say, that also means no using your cell phone as a hot spot or getting email on it.

Thanks for your company on this long and bumpy ride. It’s been an adventure!

Update: As of 3:30, the technician hasn’t shown up. Maybe it’s a 420 thing. Or maybe just a Mendo thing.

A YEAR AGO: My blog was 14.

Magic Wand

IMG_1793

For those of you who deciphered the mysterious runes above and are wondering what the piano reference is all about: When Jessica was very young, she visited a friend who had a piano at her house. Jessica was enchanted, and when she got home, asked her mother to make her one. Erica said that she couldn’t make a piano. Jessica was stunned. This was the first time in her life she had asked her mother to make something and she couldn’t. As far as I know, a piano is still just about the only thing Erica can’t make.

A YEAR AGO: Farewell, electric lime green bathroom floor! I think I’ll miss you least of all.

New & Improved

It was obvious for a while that my old MacBook needed to be replaced, but both my resistance to change and innate cheapness meant that I didn’t do anything about it for quite some time. Finally, I decided to ask my boss/partner for the price of a new Pee Cee and pay the remainder to buy a new MacBook. To my surprise, he offered to pay for the whole thing, even when I informed him that the terrifying price tag, including Apple Care and other what nots, was around the dizzying $1,700 mark.

Needless to say, it took me a while to figure out the new operating system, including a couple of calls to Apple to help with questions on email (solved) and iPhoto (it appears I am stuck with the stupid “events” set up, rather than the library format I’m used to). I also hate the super wide tabs in Safari and have so far been unsuccessful in getting rid of them, even after trying Glims, though I have removed the icky Top Sites thing and annoying hot corners. However, the track pad seems to make pages move from side to side from time to time for no particular reason that I can discern.

I have also noticed that the silvery surface shows fingerprints readily, which I always imagined would also be a drawback on the stainless steel appliances that everyone apparently finds so desirable. Still, it’s a big improvement over the old one as far as speed and capacity go.

I was trying to remember when I got the old one, and I’m pretty sure it was about eight years ago, which is antique in computer terms. I got my Product (RED) iPod at the same time. Looking back through my dusty archives, I’m surprised that I didn’t write about buying it at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, which looks like a floating glass box:

It’s right across from the Plaza Hotel, Eloise’s fictional home and my spiritual one, and near Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture:

I love(d) it, even though it only has 8GB of memory. Despite a lot of use, it remains a shiny metallic red. But it began to sound like the singing was underwater, and it didn’t hold a charge very long, so it was time for a new one, which, as you can see, is fuchsia and shiny. Almost as good as red. And it has 16 GB of memory. That’s a lot of music for those long drives!

Presently Past

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to stay at a different hotel this time, mostly due to the internet access issues at the usual place. As so often happens, I was wrong about everything.

My knowledge of San Francisco’s neighborhoods has clearly deteriorated since becoming a bumpkin. I thought Hotel B was in North Beach, which it might technically be, but it was much closer to the Wharf than what I think of as North Beach, where City Lights books, Vesuvio’s, and Molinari’s deli are, not to mention the Condor Club, the city’s oldest strip club. When I first moved to San Francisco, the Condor featured a neon sign of its famous topless dancer and early implants enthusiast Carol Doda, with her nipples flashing through the fog. I still miss that sign.

On my last day in the city, I headed out in search of bath salts so I could enjoy the bathtub in the hotel room. This proved more difficult than you’d think. I first went to Walgreen’s, which is in the old Tower Records building, but no luck. Then I headed toward Pier 39, where my brother and sister lived for so long. I discovered that Cost Plus World Market is still there, and the cash registers seem to be manned by the same ancient Asian guys who were there 20 years ago.

I scored heart-shaped, verbena-scented bath fizzes and a pomegranate face mask. I headed for Safeway on autopilot, passing what used to be a book store but is now a discount clothing place. Before I realized it, I was there, and picked up a few things including a bottle of wine to go with the bath fizzes and face mask. Back at the hotel, I cracked open the wine and had a relaxing bath with fizzes and mask.

The internet, however, was anything but relaxing. I called tech support every day, and every day there were problems. Even though they provided wired ethernet access, the internet still stopped working several times a day and most of the night. The fact that the tech support number is included on the same slip of paper with the user name and password should have given me a clue. It was pretty frustrating, and Hotel B actually cost more than Hotel A, so I think I’ll go back to the old place the next time I’m in town.

Birthday Baseball

My birthday dawned foggy, but the sun began to shine as I stepped out of my taxi in front of the Four Seasons. The doorman said, “Nice to see you, miss,” which he probably says to everyone but which made me feel special. I have loved doormen since the one at the Huntington Hotel rescued me from an early morning butt grab several years ago.

I was there to attend a seminar. The seminar itself was preceded by lunch, which was quite nice: spring greens with strawberries, marcona almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette; salmon and beef tenderloin for those who like such things, and a tray of fruit kabobs and cupcake pops, surely one of the greatest of modern inventions. I soon learned that it’s a little awkward to make polite, work-related conversation with total strangers while attempting to eat a salad in a semi-graceful manner.

The seminar itself was interesting and I learned a lot. After the seminar, we piled into a Mercedes mini van that drove us to the ballpark in plush style. The company hosting the seminar had reserved a luxury box for that evening’s game, which was the Toronto Blue Jays versus the Giants.

I highly recommend the luxury box experience. You get ushered in past the lines of peons and into an elevator. Once you reach the box floor, you can look down on the little people:

The suite had comfortable leather sofas and chairs, a buffet, and was literally draped with bags of Cracker Jacks and plastic-wrapped candy. There was beer and wine and big bowls of popcorn and peanuts. Here’s a blurry shot of it:

You can watch the game from inside or outside, where the chairs are cushioned and there’s a ledge for your plate and/or glass. So civilized!

Here’s the view from the box. Note the Canadian flag. You will be glad to hear that I sang BOTH anthems.

Getting the field ready for the game:

That’s my favorite Giant on the right, the wonderful and wonderfully named Buster Posey. I love my Giants, but I hoped the Jays would win. I’m a Gemini, after all. I was thrilled to see Tim Lincecum, “The Freak”, in real life. Even though he’s been in a slump lately, I have always liked him. His pitching style is so unusual and balletic that it was a real pleasure to watch him. I’m glad for his sake that he got a win. I miss his hair, though. The long hair suited The Freak in my opinion. Those crazy, misfit, World-Series winning Giants.

Mid-game maintenance:

The Jays lost to the Giants 2-1, but on the following day, they got revenge on their hosts by beating them 4-0.

It was so great to be back at the ballpark after so many years and just revel in the experience.

The Fly in the Ointment…the Monkey in the Wrench

The trip to the city – well, the preparations for the trip – were not exactly snagless.

I went to check the car fluids, and on propping the hood open on a stick in the usual way, discovered that the oil cap was missing. A look around Miss Scarlett’s interior revealed nothing. Since I only ever check the oil and fluids in the driveway, I must have dropped it there at some point. Maybe it blew away or the kitties played with it into oblivion in the way cats do. Who knows?

I called my brother, who was getting ready for work, and he told me to come over. He took the oil cap off his non-operational (for now) car and tried it on mine, and voila! It fitted. While I’m in the city I will get a replacement part. I hope.

Rescued by the rescuer, I went home and washed the dishes. In the process, I managed to drop and break the last of the hand-made Mexican glasses I bought many years ago from the artist who made it. Brooming and vacuuming ensued, and some grumpiness, too. I began to feel that this trip was not meant to be.

Arriving at the motel, I leaned over to pick up something from the back seat of the car and the contents of my bag spilled to the garage floor. I could find everything but my phone, a cause for panic. I called Megan, who said she’d call my phone and I’d see if I could hear it. I didn’t hear it, but I did see it flashing. It was caught in the door handle of the back seat. Even when I’m more than a hundred miles away, my sister still came to my rescue, just as my brother did earlier. What would I do without them?

I am staying at a different modest motel this time, ironically because the internet works so poorly at the old place, a real problem when your database is online only and your chief communication with your boss is by email. Ironically because it’s even worse here and I was on the phone for half an hour with tech support, who admitted it was an issue at their end and said they’d call me back when it was resolved, which hasn’t happened.

Happy birthday to me?

New Year, New Look

Evening on Market Street

What else would a girl with freshly manicured nails do but take her car to the salon?

I know that cars don’t get as excited about primping as certain girls do, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to take Miss Scarlett to the car wash which used to take care of my Mustang, Josephine. This is the only picture I could find of Josephine, and it’s teeny:

When I upgraded to WordPress I lost most of the picture links in old entries. You win some, you lose some.

The car wash was super busy as always, despite it being the middle of the day and the middle of the week:

I could have gone to the barber shop while I waited:

When they were finished, the car looked as new as a 16 year old car with 118,000 miles on it can look. All the gravel, pine needles, and puff dust were magically gone, and they had even shampooed the seats. They put what looked like plastic dry cleaning bags on the seats just in case they weren’t dry enough.

I know the dazzling shine and clean wheels won’t last long once I get home to Hooterville, but hopefully I can maintain the interior. At least until my next trip to Civilization.

I drove the shiny car to the East Bay, where I met up with our IT person to get…a brand new iPhone!

It was a free upgrade and is the version 4, not the latest 5, but free is free. Now I just have to learn how to use it. One thing that will be great is that texting will be a lot easier. I am terrible at texting on flip phones. It takes me so long that I can usually call the person 5 times in the time it takes me to enter one text.

It will be much better to just type in the texts, especially since you can send texts where there is no cell service, and there are a lot of places in the Hooterville environs where there is no cell service. For example, there is none for the 65 miles between Cloverdale and Hooterville, so if the car breaks down or something, I could at least text my sibs for help, since I can’t call for it.

On my way back to the modest motel, I stopped off to do some shopping, and ended up not buying anything, but I did take the time to admire a festive cable car:

I was really surprised by how long the line was for cable cars, even now the holidays are over, and remembered all over again why I so rarely took them when I lived here.

My plans for today are: breakfast at Polker’s; a trip to the Legion of Honor to admire the Treasures of the Louvre; and home again in the bright sunshine.

Out & In

Sorry, poodles, I was swept away in a tsunami of work, rain, and power outages. But I’m back!

I missed you, too.

Since we last saw our heroine, she has both recovered her beloved MacBook and acquired a brand-new Pee Cee. This seems very appropriate for a Gemini, and in fact it is completely in keeping with the way things have always been with me computer-wise: PC for work, Mac at home (or Real Life).

Why the Pee Cee, you ask? Are you mad?! It’s like having a small Egyptian curse in the house! This is true, but here’s the problem. The Powers That Be at the firm who maintain our database on line from the traffic wilds of Atlanta saw fit to “upgrade” the system so it only runs on Explorer, which does not run on Mac.

Has upgrading ever made things better?

So my hands were tied with respect to work until I got the Pee Cee. The delivery was complicated by the fact that the FedEx truck broke down on the Ridge about three miles from my house. Since I had already observed the only tow truck going the other way with a trashed white car on my way home, I knew the delivery would be late.

Fortunately, I had already put a note on the door of the shed where FedEx and UPS deliver to our property, so even though I was supposed to sign for it, I didn’t have to, which was good, since it was about 9:00 pm by the time it got here.

Now all I have to do is transfer the files from the Mac and catch up on all the work I have not been able to do over the past week due to technical difficulties.

As for the Mac, I picked it up from the nice local computer fixers embarrassingly cleaned up and working just fine. We bonded over our shared affection for Buffalo, with its splendid Victorians, Frederick Law Olmstead-designed parks, and actual record stores.

The next day, the rain started in earnest, and I do mean earnest. We have received four inches (or more than 10 centimeters) in the past two days, and are slated to get more over the weekend. Don’t get me wrong: we need it, but does it have to be so hard and heavy? It’s so loud in my wood and tarpaper shack that I can barely hear the cats complaining about being stuck inside. There’s something about the curved shape of the roof/walls that seems to enhance the sound. It’s kind of like being assaulted, with the wind howling and the rain smashing and battering against the house.

Needless to say, the power went out, and of course it went out when I was finally done with a long series of conference calls that had started at 6 am. I speed dialed PG&E, only to be greeted with a gloomy recording saying that there were widespread power outages and power could be out for extended periods of time.

Fortunately, it wasn’t out that long, though the house was instantly cold and dark. My brother called a few hours later to ask if the power was still out – his never goes out, since he has solar and wind power – so he could walk me through getting the generator he gave me going. I thought that was really nice of him. It also reminded me that I should get a big can of gas and gas stabilizer, just in case.

I’m pretty sure there are more outages in my future.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Diagnosis: my iBook (or MacBook) needs a new inverter cable. Apparently years of opening and closing the lid have worn the cable, so a new one is required. The good news is that this was the cheaper of the two repair scenarios. The bad news is that it will take three to five days to get said part. However, once it arrives, it will take about half an hour to install, so that’s good.

I repo’d my computer so I can use it at a bizarre angle with accompanying screen blackouts. Better than nothing, right?

When I got home yesterday, I found that the new router had arrived. I also found that there were three missed calls from Megan, so I called her back right away, knowing that she only had a few minutes before taking off for work. “Come over,” she said, and hung up.

I went over there, and she handed me a letter. The letter said that Rob finally has a hearing date for his disability claim. It’s February 17. We are excited, but scared. If they deny the claim, I think we can appeal it, but it kind of feels like the end of the line.

I can’t believe that anyone could look at him and think he could work, but you never know. As with most things, there are so many dishonest people ruining it for the honest ones. I’m actually thinking of password protecting my blog, in case the powers that be read it and think he’s fine, even though it’s unlikely that they have time to surf the web or would know who he is in relation to me.

Back at home, I installed the router without incident (!), and sure enough, the Kindle connected right away. So once the computer is up and running again, it will be all systems go at Chez Suzy.

Things are looking up!

Wait & See

Also in the Not Working department is the Kindle Fire I received for Christmas. Sort of.

The device itself, as you can see, works fine. The problem is that my router is incapable of getting along with it. I tried to persuade it to see the error of its selfish ways, but to no avail.

A call to the Kindle customer service people revealed that this is a common problem with Kndles, even for people who live in civilization. As Meryl Streep said after swallowing the magic potion in “Death Becomes Her” – “NOW a warning?!”

I tried it out at Mark’s place and it connected instantly. Same goes for a cafe in the Hooterville Flats. So I gave in and ordered the router. Now to wait for it to be delivered…

But since waiting and patience are not in my nature, I took the Kindle to the jobette yesterday (where, yes, it felt an immediate connection to our router), and downloaded both of the Michael Connelly ebooks (well, estories) that are not available in any other form.

Once I get the new and hopefully improved router and get it set up, the hard part will begin: learning how to use it. Wish me luck!

Blackout

And not the good kind…

Recently, my little iBook (or maybe MacBook, I was unable to answer that question and a host of others) has acquired the bad habit of blacking out suddenly, preferably when I’m in the middle of working or typing. Then I have to close the lid and reopen it, trying increasingly awkward angles until the screen appears.

For example, I can’t really see what I’m writing now.

On Saturday, it appeared to black out for good (or bad, because I had work due today), so I took it to the one repair place in the Big Town. They had a look and said it was one of two things, but they’d have to open it up and look around. Unfortunately, they were about to close, and today they already had five patients booked, so I will have to bring it in tomorrow and hope that it won’t require an expensive part being shipped here from civilization, or an overnight hospital stay.

So far, the theme of the new year seems to be “nothing works”. Let’s hope it makes some new ones and mends its wayward ways soon.

I’m back

I didn’t get picked for jury duty! Yay! But the system is as mysterious to me as ever. On Friday, there we all were in the waiting pen, and there was an announcement that there was one case scheduled for that day. So they’d let us know as soon as the judge and lawyers were ready for us. Then they warned us that if jury selection could not be completed today, we’d have to come back on Monday to finish it. Two hours later, there was another announcement saying that they wouldn’t be ready to see us that day, so thank you and you’re done for a year.

My question is: what were they doing for those two hours and why weren’t they ready for us? It seems to me that whatever they had to talk about or arrange should have done before coralling us in the pen. Maybe Becky can enlighten us?

At least I’m done for a year or more.

But our iMac is still swooning, so instead of being incommunicado (incommunicada?) during the working day, I’m incommunicado/a after work, when real life begins, which is even more annoying.

And to cap off the annoyance, we haven’t been able to get the repair guys to pick it up and start repairing it. John dropped by their store on Friday with the receipts showing that they had repaired it two months ago to the day, and telling them that it now had the very same problem (black screen, but everything else working fine). They said they’d call about having someone pick it up on Saturday.

John called them three times on Saturday, and nothing. Then we got a call on Sunday afternoon, the purpose of which seemed to be to confirm that there was something wrong with the computer, but not to set up a time to pick it up or anything. So John’s going to call again today.

You would think they’d be kissing our asses and apologizing for doing such a lame job in the first place, but nothing. Unbelievable.