Behold, the Power of the Keyboard

I’m not about to claim this as a reason for my continued lapse in posts, but I will admit that it has probably impacted something about my posting, if only certain typos.

I had a really rotten keyboard.

At some point in the past 5 years (yeah, that long), I wound up with an old, very basic, very non-responsive keyboard attached to the computer from which 75% of my posts came (now 100% because the tiny tiny laptop known on my network as “Inara” shuffled loose the electro-magnetic coil about a month ago and because Asus no longer makes netbooks exactly like her, I am in ponder mode on her eventual replacement….but that’s a topic for another post).  Honestly, the thing had keys that you had to pound to get a letter to appear (even after I cleaned the dust out).  The keys themselves were very shallow and had a poor feel–when you hit a key, you didn’t always have the feeling you’d really hit much more than the surface of the desk.  I lived with it, because, well, my work keyboard was only marginally better and I spend a lot more hours of the day with that machine than this one.

But, last week I carried a box down to the basement (yet another topic for yet another post) and as I made room on the shelf, I stumbled on a half empty box….half empty but for some very serviceable keyboards that I remember having liked (if you are looking shocked at my having a lot of random keyboards in a box in my basement, clearly we’ve never met in real life…I also have boxes of hard drives, video cards, network cards.  If you’re picturing me with horn rimmed glasses you’d be wrong…but if you’re wondering if my Slashdot number is lower than yours, there’s a good chance of that).

So, I brought the old keyboard upstairs, and swapped it for the brick that had been masquerading as an input device.

Cue the chorus of angels.

I’m half tempted to carry this thing back and forth to work.  It’s not that it’s the best keyboard ever, but it’s been this highlight of how sucky my old one was and how much nicer it is to work with an input device that responds appropriately.  I actually want to spend more time working on the computer than I used to.  All of the posts I’ve been scribbling in notebooks for the past months I’m actually willing to type.  I had no idea the amount of reluctance that old thing was causing in my getting things that final step from analog to digital.

It’s not going to cure my posting problems (one day there will be a post about that.  One day),  and it sure won’t cure all my typos (or my grammar and spelling issues) but it sure as heck isn’t going to make it any worse.

They’re Fucking You With the Cell Phone

“They fuck you with cell phones. That’s what it is. They’re fuckin’ you with the cell phone. They love it when you get cut off. Y’know why, huh? You know why? ‘Cause when you call back – -which they know you’re gonna do. – -they charge you for that fuckin’ first minute again at that high rate.

Above is the only line I remember from Lethal Weapon 4* and it’s highly applicable to my current dilemma.  

My family has been with a certain large wireless carrier** since the first cell phone we had (an ancient Nokia which I remember fondly because I inherited it to call home with in college–it was also the same phone that’s featured fin the X-Files PC game.  Mulder and Scully used my cell phone for a few years there.  How’s that fun, useless info?).  We went with this carrier mostly because my Dad’s company was using it, and there’s been a company discount, plus, it meant calls to his phone would be free.  

For the most part this has worked out.  Being the luddite I am, I kept with the basic phone for several years after it was passé, but finally, in order to get in on the last of the unlimited data plans, I went for the smart phone in 2011.  And I’ve loved the thing.  It’s been my GPS, my note taking device, my way to read e-books while I eat lunch, my way to keep up with telenovelas and has, generally, saved my sanity over the past couple of years.

But, all good things must come to an end, and in my case, the end was my phone’s ability to charge.  I’ve tried all known fixes (yes, kids, I have cracked open a cell phone and replaced parts because I’m not a girl to be cowed by something that involves very tiny hex keys).  But, it’s bricked. Read the rest of this entry »

Annoying Clothing Transition

It got colder here this week.  Nothing remotely approaching the frozen arctic hell I know is in store for us, but sleeveless shirts aren’t really feasible unless they’re worn under snug hoodies right now.  So, out come the cool-weather clothes, even though I know full-well that in a few weeks it will decide to warm up again.

I hate this.

Every year, I try to out-wit the seasonal transition, putting off the annoyance of  pulling out the flannel, the sweaters, the tights for as long as possible thinking that maybe, just maybe when I get them out it will be a one time swap.  Cool weather clothing comes out, warm weather goes into the storage tubs and DONE.

But it never works.  I’m stuck with that period of weeks where I’m navigating around having two divergent wardrobes scattered around.  I can’t put away the warm weather stuff completely, but I can’t leave the cool weather stuff tucked neatly away.  It’s a disaster that looks like a thrift store has exploded all over my place.

Once again, I ponder removing myself to one of those single-season areas of the world.  Like California.  Or the tropics.  Or Antarctica.  One wardrobe.  No annoying transitions.  Simple.

Re-creating The Wheel

I had hoped to have an entertaining and informative Time Vampire to share with you today, but the truth is….

THE BLOODY MEAT-SPACE, BILL-PAYING JOB INTERFERED AGAIN.

Ahem, sorry to yell.

Mostly the time suck has come in the form of that age-old story: re-inventing the wheel.  You all know the drill, and you don’t even need the details of my meat-space job to understand.  Task A is something that’s been done before.  But no one bothered to, oh, I dunno DOCUMENT anything so now, you’re  stuck, spending life-shortening spans of time in a desk chair re-doing what had been done before (and in once case, it had been done, but so poorly that it was an embarrassment to even open the file, so….).

No one wants to re-invent the wheel.  Progress depends on us not having to go back and do the remedial work.

So, for those of you, gentle readers, who hold mundane, meat-space jobs, do humanity (and other bloggers) a kindness:  make sure your files are correct, your processes are documented and that people who follow you into a position after you’ve either retired or won Powerball have a small chance in hell of being able to reference what they need and go home at a reasonable hour rather than sitting and trying to re-piece a puzzle that, clearly, you HAD to have done before, but of which there is sadly no evidence.

Seriously.  It’s a public service.  You will get good karma.  Possibly all you need to get into heaven.  May even make you smarter and more attractive.

The Blog Is U.S. Politics-Free!

It’s that time again.  Time for the wonders of our US political process to churn under the power of the people.  I would like to say that I take great delight in our elections, but for the past several presidential elections, the process I have such appreciation for as become buried under so much rhetoric, bitterness, and polarization-without-actual-thought that I kinda hate it.

Last presidential election, I jettisoned multiple people I’d followed on Twitter, stopped reading certain LiveJournals and abandoned most of my google reader.  Some, I’ve never gone back to.  Especially the celebrity types.  Really, I can’t think of any celebrity I ever gave a shit about his/her political view (even the ones where they share my views).  If I’m following a writer, its because I want to hear about her writing.  If I’m following a comedian or an actor, it’s generally because he’s just f’in funny.  If it’s a musician, I want tour info and album news…..If I want angry ranting, well, I’ve got my bathroom mirror, thanks.  I don’t need it from people I’m looking to for entertainment.  Unfortunately, an awful lot of people I like for other reasons just got downright ugly, spouting off political vitriol that had no more rational and informed a basis than than you’d find with the average American (and when I saw average, you should be pondering Bubba down the street, Sally Kay in the junior league and Tiffany, your vapid barista here).  Hey, they’re entitled to use their soap box…I’m just entitled to roll my eyes and un-follow that Twitter feed.

And it’s not just the celebrities.  Members of my family–even those who vote the way I do–were put on restriction with me.  And it’s happening again.  Baseless political forwards.  Rants based on rumor and stereotype instead of, oh, I dunno…facts?  Reason?  An elementary level understanding of the U.S. Constitution?

So, to provide a place of rest and reprieve, even though it rarely comes up here anyhow, we are declaring this blog officially US POLITICS FREE from now until  after inauguration.  Note we said U.S. Politics.  If you wanna talk about ANYONE else’s politics, we’re down with that.  Will Angela Merkel hang onto her spot, or be ousted by that former finance minister?  What does it mean for Mexico now that PRI is back in power (it means they have a President who’s hot, that’s what!).  Any predictions on elections in Venezuela?  Will Julia Gillard continue to hang in there in Australia, or could she still be subject to being removed by her own party through the same kinda back room dealing that put her into that office?

Whole globe full of political parties and elections, all of which are fair game for discussion.  There’s enough shitty coverage of US elections, so leave that over on facebook, kids.

The Day The Musik Died…..

No, I’m not about to do a Musikalischer Mittwoch about “American Pie”  (I can more or less promise that won’t ever happen–I don’t hate the song, but it’s been eye-rollingly over-done in my corner of the Universe).

I’m talking about how my favorite radio station totally killed music.

The country station I listen to (the one that plays old shit and does not mock my less-than-secret love of Hee-Haw) decided to become the 24/7 Christmas station for the area starting the day after Thanksgiving.  I would applaud this but for two things:

1) They said this will run through 26 December.  Um.  Yeah.  No.  Twelve days of Christmas, yo (and more than that if you’re smart and milk both Roman Catholic/Protestant AND Orthodox calendars)

 

and (this is the important one)

 

2) I haven’t heard a Christmas song yet.  Or any other song.

This station was always a bit heavy on the advertisements in the mornings.  That’s to be expected for any station, so I’m annoyed, but forigiving. But since the alleged Christmas rotation started, I have heard about nothing but collision repair, vinyl siding and the price of brisket for a grocery chain whose nearest store is 30 minutes from me.

I knew the Christmas music thing was going to be a bad gimmick, but I didn’t think it would be this awful.  How can I mock the craptastic renditions of “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” if I never get to HEAR them?!?!

Time Vampire of the Week: Updates

Ever damn piece of software I own, use, or am forced to tolerate decided it needed a lengthy upgrade this week.

Every.

Damn.

Piece.

Normally, this is a minor annoyance about which I swear briefly, then move on.  But not this week, oh no.  This week the updates have all been long, slow, interfered with my attempts to shut down quickly, and generally made my life a living hell.

I timed it yesterday–I spent 20 minutes on Windows updates (the price I pay for rarely rebooting).  And this when I really just wanted to try and get in to check on an e-mail attachment before I went to work, so I wouldn’t have to look at it on my phone.  After 20 minutes I gave up.  I couldn’t spare more time.

And iTunes.  43 minutes.  To add insult to injury?  That update actually failed for some reason.  Which doesn’t matter because even if it had succeeded, it would still have wanted me to update today because apparently Apple has coders working 24/7/365 on iTunes crap.  It’s actually rare I open the program much anymore because I got so tired of the constant prompt to upgrade.

Adobe wanted to update flash or the reader or something.  And Java, as usual, popped up a damn request to update too.

It’s a bloody miracle I got anything done this week other that waiting on patches to download and install.

Stairs Interrupted

I love my family dearly, but they might drive me to beat my head against the wall soon if they don’t stop interrupting me.

The over-all interruption of having them back in the house for a visit is one thing–this is a welcome interruption.

It’s all the little things that come in between.  The worst being Mom’s habit of telling me to do one thing, then interrupting me before I can do it.  Prime example from this afternoon.  I have been home all of 10 minutes….

Mom: “Go take this laundry up to the linen closet.”

Me: “Okay.”

Half-way up the stairs…..

Mom [yelling from the laundry room] : “Cammy!”

Me [paused on the stairs] “Yeah?”

Mom [still yelling from the laundry room] :”Come here!”

Me: [attempting to continue up the stairs] “I’m just going to finish putting this stuff up.”

Mom: I want to show you where I put the carpet cleaner!

Me:  I’ll be down in a minute.

Mom:  It will only take a second!

So, I give in, go back down the stairs, stuff still in my arms.  Mom proceeds to show me every detail of how she arranged the shelves in the laundry room.  During this 10 minute presentation, I have put the stack of towels and sheets on top of the drier.

Mom:  “I thought you were going to put those away.”

Me [rolling eyes]: “I was trying to.”

Mom:  “Well, you don’t have to have an attitude about it!”

For the record, it took me four (4), yes FOUR (4) attempts before I made it up the stairs without being called back for something else.  And that final time, I essentially played stealth and when she called me, I pretended not to hear.

I’m SO looking forward to the men in white coats coming to take me to a nice padded cell.

Musikalischer Mittwoch: Making it A Better Time for the Optimists

In case you missed my whining, and the fact that I haven’t posted on time (again), I’ll tell you that this has been a helluva last two weeks.  I’ve been working long days, on weekends, and generally busting my ass.

This level of sustained activity involved in something I’m not really keen on doing requires a certain level of musical stimulus to maintain my sanity and my energy level.  “Zeit für Optimisten” by Silbermond has been in my playlist rotation fairly heavily.

If you like fast paced, solid rock music, you will be able to enjoy this song without knowing German.  Musically, I won’t say this is my favorite Silbermond song (I think that would go to “Symphonie”), but it’s got the right tempo to offer a pick me up when Excel spreadsheets are bogging me down.  There’s also the note of, not quite anger, but definitely something less than happy lurking under the upbeat sound, which mirrors my level of frustration just about perfectly.

If you DO know some German, the lyrics complete the package to make this a perfect addition to the job-dragging-me-down playlist.  “es ist ‘ne schlechte Zeit für Optimisten” repeats the chorus….literally?  “It’s a bad time for Optimists.”

Ain’t.  It.  Just.

And rather than offer empty hope about improvement for the Optimists, the song takes the bull by the horns suggesting “Also lasst sie uns ein wenig unterstützen / Wer will schon gern alleine sein?” That is, we should help the optimists….who wants to be alone?  That’s right.  Instead of bench warming it with the pessimists (me), we ought to be out there finding a way to make things a little better for those lonely optimists.

A nice sentiment, really.

Of course, being a pessimist I could suggest that the other option for Optimist loneliness is to convert them to pessimism.  Clearly Silbermond has more optimism than me.  And that’s good, because they give me rockin’ songs that make me momentarily think I should abandon my pessimism if I want to see things improve.

Once again, for the daring samplers out there, a legal version is up on YouTube.  The video is a couple of years old.  Don’t ask me about the TV-headed people.  I didn’t get it when the song came out and I still don’t get it, though I am amused by the guy on the crapper and the kid on the mini four wheeler.

 

 

Musikalischer Mittwoch: Ditty for a Drink

Today was a very rough day at work.  There was pummeling.  Of me.  And others like me.  And by 5pm, I really, really wanted to sit down for a beer.

In part because I’d had this little tune running through my head since about 8:30 this morning

“In heaven there is no beer / That’s why we drink it here….”

Yeah.

While I embrace the message of this song, it’s not exactly what you want running on an infinite loop in your head all day.  I had two near miss incidents where I almost started humming it in the presence of VIPs.

That aside, the song is rather witty, so at least there was amusement in an otherwise cheerless day.  If only those words weren’t saddled by a tune that’s made of superglue and annoyance.

And now, I can drown the sorrows of my day in beer that I have to drink while I’m here (because when I’m in heaven, my friends will be drinking it all.  Mostly.  Except for the ones who don’t drink beer) and freebie Amazon.com MP3 sampler albums to drown the incessant rounds of the song (which heaven better be devoid of as well)…..

Yeah.  It’s been a looooooong day.