Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Computer Woes

Well, I’m plagued by computer woes now at home and at work. Stupid computers. Blogging was so much easier back in the day when we carved our posts into clay tablets and then hurled them into the air, where they were caught by trained ravens and disseminated between the mighty Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Or fell to the ground and shattered, whichever – some things haven’t changed.

My home computer has now cost me large sums of money, all my data and every program loaded onto it, but, according to Charlotte Street Computers, it’s actually working, which is a distinct improvement from it having all my data and programs but not functioning as anything other than a paperweight. I would, however, like to take this chance to beat my head against the wall, because if I’d been proactive and done something about the myriad .dll errors and other not so good things that I began noticing while it was still under warranty a year ago, I might still have $150 and my pictures, music and programs. And if I’d beaten my son to within an inch of his life when he and his little pal installed Limewire, I would feel better. Aaargh! Procrastination is not always a good thing.

Not only that, but, this afternoon when I get it back, it will be just like a new computer, which means that hooking up internet access again is going to be a royal PITA and involve the ever helpful tech support people at Charter Communications, if we can even reach them in their prison or Bangladesh division. Young M, who actually has not been anywhere near as whiny and furious about the lack of a computer as I thought he would be, since he’s just as addicted to the machine as I am, is not going to be pleased when he realizes that there is no such thing, really, as plug and play. It was terrible without the computer: I felt totally bereft all weekend, unable to access the weather, the TV guide and whether elephants are really afraid of mice or not. As icing on the cake, the computers at work are all messed up now too, which ordinarily means that I become frighteningly efficient but this time, alas, they are messed up in such a way that there’s really nothing I can do except stare at the wall and try on bracelets in the gift shop.

In other news, the garden is ringed by pinwheels and we’re at a seeming hiatus in the groundhog wars which I suspect may be due to a relatively new innovation: I’m feeding them. Just yesterday they got half a head of wilted lettuce and a slightly moldy half a broccoflower and last week they got a bunch of elderly cabbage and some strawberry tops, so they ought to be grateful, the little monsters. At this rate, what with groundhog protection money, water, rototilling, pinwheel purchases and so on, I estimate that each and every pepper, tomato, green bean & ear of corn I harvest out of my garden (should any of the seeds deign to germinate, which so far they don’t seem interested in doing) will cost me approximately $10. Inflation, what can you do? Good thing I have a garden! It might have cost me almost a third of that just to buy vegetables all summer!

And I’m having trouble even finding enough stuff that shakes, glitters, talks, whistles and clanks to keep the groundhogs at bay. A couple years ago “solar powered” – that would mean that they have a little solar panel AND a nine volt battery, yeah - plastic geese and frogs and gnomes and other creepy objects who said “Welcome!” or something similarly frightening when you unknowingly crossed their fixed and unnerving gaze were available everywhere or at least at K Mart. Now, though, they are nowhere to be found, which intimates that the American consumer has better sense and taste than I ever would have thought to give them credit for. Just another example of the rolling onslaught of good taste that threatens to overcome everything we hold dear; namely, scaring off groundhogs, neighbor children, dogs and, well, let’s face it, terrorists. I bet even a seasoned Al Qaeda member with dastardly plans to undermine America’s suburbs would be stopped in his tracks by a suddenly squawking plastic lawn goose. And then, once the spyware burglar alarm shot tiny plastic soft headed darts at him? Clearly, he would have no choice but to flee, demoralized forever, and America would have won the war.

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