Tuesday, September 25, 2007

There might be a SMALL change in plans

We may have to rebuild the old computer first, after all. It appears that my cd-writer-thingitt has bitten ye olde dust and it has to be replaced if I'm going to back up some of my backuppable things.

I think. This is where the spouse comes in with hot Earl Grey (or Dragonwell green, depending on the pitch of the fit) and speaks soothing words until I quit crying quite so hysterically. He's not worried, so I suppose I shouldn't be.

But it's an old system. And I haven't backed up the way I should. Even though I've already had one computer crash and go boom in a very very final way. Okay. No panic. Deep breaths. Think peaceful, happy thoughts. Do NOT think about the issue that needs to be worked on like, yesterday. Do NOT think of the unhappy children missing math assignments. Everything will be all right.

As soon as I get my new computer. Which I can't afford but want anyway -- but that's a semi-sort-of-larval-stage computer geek for you. I really need to get over the deep desire for the
ultimate computer case. The thing is big, it's cool, it's....expensive. I don't need it. I'm not going to be killing off mutant bug monsters in a galaxy far, far away. I'm going to be editing, blogging, corresponding, writing, occasionally getting into something like a video game. I don't need it. This is more my speed. Yeah, and tell it to my howling, fit-throwing inner child.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Okay, when does National Blow-Your-Computer-Up Day begin?

And if there isn't one, can I be the first to suggest that there really, really needs to be one?

How about hack-it-to-pieces day? Drop a heavy object on it day? Take it to a monster truck rally and accidentally leave it on the field of battle week?


Really, in this time of there-outta-be-a-law frenzy, there ought to be a law saying that you can drop a desktop with impunity from the 405 overpass onto the 605 freeway and watch a long string of 18-wheelers run it over. Except of course that there is only about 10 minutes of any given day that anything with wheels gets up to any sort of speed at that interchange...and there might be a computer geek who would suffer long term emotional damage from witnessing such a spectacle...although a true computer geek has had his or her share of problems that would have them dancing on the hood of their car shouting You go girl!!


I want to mention that my current desktop is not really doing anything wrong. It just got old and now newer, more modern star-belly programs don't want to play with it. Which leaves me with a couple of options. I could go option number 1, the 405/605, except that would leave me without a functioning computer (the laptop works just fine if you don't count the motherboard refusing to connect to the internet) and I hear that the local constabulatory sort of hates this kind of venting. I could go option 2, some preassembled bit of gear from a big name with a lot of options I don't want (can we say, avoiding Vista as long as humanly possible? I knew you could!) and a few things I want that I can't get with this configuration. Or, we can go with option 3: Build My Own.

Now I know I'm lucky to be obscure and to have changed my name once in my lifetime because I tell you this; there is an old boyfriend who would drop dead of massive apoplexy if he ever read that last sentence. Back when we dated I was about as phobic about computers as anyone is ever likely to be. Avoided them like the black plague. Thought that an electric typewriter was as high up the electronic mountain as I was ever going to climb. My brother was the computer genius. I preferred calligraphy over keyboards. But yeah, option 3 is beginning to sound better and better. We can call it a science project and let the kids help, or I can send them to my mother-in-law's for a couple of days and have a functioning computer. They can help me rebuild the old computer when the new system is stable.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Random Collection of Thoughts

We're having our two days of autumn this week. Here in the desert we have two primary seasons, otherwise known as summer and winter. Spring and autumn have devolved into transitional seasons that last anywhere from two days to a week, but never any longer. Last week we were having 90 degree weather and this week the temps are dipping into the high 40's at night.

But I like fall weather, transitional or not. It has always felt like something brand new and exciting was about to happen. The dragging heat of the summer is over and the nights are getting crisp; the days are getting shorter and there's all of the planning I start to do when darkness starts happening earlier. I never ever get everything done that I plan to do, but that's what happens when you have three kids, two cats, a dog, a husband, a house (the last of the guppies died last night, but it was nearly two years old which is positively ancient for a guppy.), and the sort of hobby-habit that earns nicknames like Stash Mountain. (I swear, I really do not have that much yarn. It's an optical illusion. Really.)

After a little introspection this feeling of anticipation probably dates back to elementary school, when the beginning of the school year was a time of exciting change; new school clothes, paper that hadn't been written on yet, the feeling that this year was going to be new, different, better somehow. I think maybe in elementary school those things were possible. It was when I went into junior high that everything went into a non-recoverable tail-spin. It was in high school that I began to have the feeling that formal education left a lot to be desired. Or maybe I'm just one of those critters who is hard-wired to like autumn weather and has a predisposition to over-analyze things.

I want to start being a little more formal with the Banshees and their education. The main problem with this, of course, is not the Banshees. It's me. I take to formal anything like ceramic takes to sky-diving. It isn't natural. On the other hand, a little structure will probably be good for me. I may have to be convinced.

Or we can just do what we keep doing, planning on one thing and ending up with something completely different. We were supposed to do history today and ended up researching black holes. EB is a little concerned that a black hole will come by and wreak all sorts of damage; she's somehow convinced herself that black holes were responsible for the disappearance of dinosaurs. (No, dear, the current theory is that meteorite had a lot to do with the lack of large lizards. Or it might have been climate change. Or maybe both. Which devolves into what theories are and why scientists use them. She's still giving me odd looks.) So we find a neat website that says that our sun will never get to be a black hole (not massive enough) and that black holes aren't really black, they just swallow light, and my own personal favorite, that they range in size from a couple of miles across to millions of miles across. It's my personal favorite because I didn't know that before. I knew all about massive stars exploding and collapsing in on themselves, but I didn't know that black holes are also found at the heart of huge galaxies. History gets to wait, but we got a heckuva lot in on astronomy. MB even went on to explore a little of the Solar System before losing interest and wandering off to other, more entertaining activities. (No, you may not pull dresser drawers out just far enough to use them as a step-ladder. It's one of those side deals that physics has with the universe; gravity is a constant and if you overbalance the furniture it will fall on you. Go check out why ladders work when you climb on them and dresser drawers won't. Just as soon as Mommy quits hyperventilating and screeching in painfully high registers.)

Oh yeah, and we had a cougar-alert yesterday. I've lived here for the better part of two decades and this is the first time that I've had the city call me to tell me there were mountain lions in the area and would I please keep an eyeball on any outdoor pets? Now, I like that dog of mine. She's cute and she's intelligent and she's an excellent companion, but she also outweighs all of my children and if a mountain lion is going to think anything is cougar-chow, it's probably not going to be the critter with the functioning fangs. EB spent this morning discovering the difference between the common housecat and their larger cousins.

So we've covered astronomy, scientific methodology, physics, a bit of metallurgy (did I mention they bent the drawer slide when they put their full weight on the drawer?), biology, public service and governmental theory, and a soup├žon of evolutionary theory. But no history.