There’s a red cloud hanging over us

1 03 2017

I am once again yelling at the media.

Back in the day—waaaay back in the day—I used to regularly berate journalists, pundits, and politicians who happened across my t.v. screen or radio. I’d slap the newspaper or crunch it between my hands. I’d carry on arguments and yell rebuttals and gesticulate and swear and occasionally throw soft objects at whatever device was relaying the offending message.

I once smeared a butter pat on the t.v. in my dorm floor’s lounge (I cleaned it up).

It got to be a bit of joke among my friends, but it was never schtick to me: I’d honestly get pissed off and let loose. They might have thought it funny or stupid, but I was dead serious.

And then, at some point, I stopped.

I don’t know why. Maybe when I got rid of the t.v. and thus no longer watched the news I fell out of practice. Maybe I figured out that I was not required to listen to bullshit and thus turned off the radio/t.v. rather than get into a fight with the voices coming out of it. Maybe I just gave up.

Well, I’m back, and so is the yelling. Well, not yelling so much as muttering, and I’m not back to full-bore argumentation. No, I’m dropping such bon mots as “motherfucker” and “asshole” as I flick through my Twitter feed and suggesting “go fuck yourself” to whichever Trumpeter is weaseling on the radio.

I’m not proud of this, but I’m not quite chagrined, either. Swearing may not work to hold back the pile of radioactive horseshit Trump and his GOP enablers are shoveling at us, but it does remind me that I haven’t given up, that I shouldn’t give up.

I do think I’ll leave the butter be, however.





Communication breakdown

27 02 2017

The good thing about keeping a computer for so long is that an even relatively inexpensive replacement feels luxurious.

I’ve transferred all of my files over and managed to load on older versions of WordPerfect and (a stripped-down) Microsoft Office, so I won’t have to buy new software. (And yeah, I’d buy the software: renting Microsoft Office for a year is about 70 bucks, which for me with my one computer would be a terrible deal: the stripped down or student version of Office is only 130 bucks.) I’m getting used to the new OS and its insistence that everything that’s not hardware or the OS itself is an “app”, which. . . whatever.

What nearly killed me, however, was the new router. I got it set up and communicating with my computer with the about expected amount of hassle, but holy mother of Mary the hookup to the printer was an ordeal.

And a failed one at that. Oh, I downloaded the drivers and my computer says, Oh, hey, there’s that printer; and after many, many, many false starts, managed to get the router to say, Yep, I see you.

But could I send something from the computer to the printer wirelessly? Why no, I could not.

I printed out the printer settings page, and the encryption mode and wireless link status are A-OK, but what should be a happy ménage à trois most certainly is not.

This is more irritation than crisis—I jacked the printer into the computer and was able to print my class notes just fine—but irritation nonetheless: I know this can work, should work, but it does not.

Yes, the story of life. Still.





Shock the monkey

25 02 2017

Yippee, my new computer is here!

Okay, I know, it’s just a computer, nothing high-end, basic black, but. . . Yippee, my new computer is here!

It didn’t come pre-loaded with all kinds of software/goodies/nonsense like my last one did, so I had to do a bit of figuring out the configuring, but nothing too drastic. Tomorrow I’ll dig out my old WordPerfect and Microsoft software and see if I can load ’em up and use ’em.

The big hassle was getting the new router sorted. I was going to wait until tomorrow—to see if the slowness of my old computer was due to its age or to the even older router—but then thought, What the hell, just hook it up already.

I always fuck up the router hook-up. I mean, I get it right, but never on the first try, which was once again my experience. Tomorrow I’ll try to get the wireless printer hip to the new router; given what a hassle it was setting it up last time, I see much swearing ahead.

The final bit of computer business was setting the wallpaper.  The computer came with a very nice ocean scene background, one which, were it on a work computer, I might have kept. But for my personal PC, I go with primates-in-the-wild: two computers ago, I used a snow monkey; the last one, lemurs. A quick search, and I found one I’m happy with:

pensive-howler

Photo by Joel Sartore

I spanned it (which had the happy effect of cropping out the text), and now I have a pensive howler monkey on my desk.

This works for me.





Doctor, doctor, give me the news

23 02 2017

Well, that’s been disappointing.

I’d loved the first half-season of Code Black, loved its bitterness and edges and the stumbles into sorrow, loved Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzmán and Raza Jaffrey and the adorably cynical Kevin Dunn. It slackened as the season went on, lost Dunn, softened up a bit, but it was still good, reminiscent of early E.R. and St. Elsewhere.

This season, uck. Harden’s tough-ass doc has melted into goo, and the über-obnoxious surgeon Will Campbell (Boris Kodjoe) has, of course, been revealed to have a heart o’ gold. Jillian Murray’s Heather Pinkey managed to hang on to some of her attitude right up to the moment they killed her off.

And Rob Lowe? Don’t really hate him, but his soul-wounded army doc character is a bit of a bore.

None of this means I’ve stopped watching it—I’m still watching Criminal Minds, for chrissakes—but it went off right quick.

~~~

I’m not really watching The Blacklist anymore, although I’ll probably dip in to watch the current season once it hits Netflix. I still enjoy James Spader enormously, but I just can’t get over that his objet d’art, Elizabeth, just. . . really isn’t any good at her job.

Still, I’ll probably take a peek at The Blacklist: Redemption when it airs.

~~~

Watched the first season of Breakout Kings, which is basic and fine in the best possible way; second season TK.

Watched a few episodes of Containment, which has been compelling, if not exactly enjoyable.

Two episodes into  Travelers, which, we’ll see. I mean, I’ll think I’ll like it (presuming it doesn’t go to shit), and it is nice to catch all those Canadian actors.

Gotta be better than The OA, of which I saw 2? 3? episodes? I don’t know why I watched even the entire premiere.

~~~

Still haven’t gotten all the way through Person of Interest. I really like this show, but knowing that things are going to get very bad. . . well, I just can’t handle that right now.

Conversely, I don’t think I’ll be re-watching any of The West Wing. Yes, it was a fantasy and yes there were some truly, truly awful episodes and story arcs, but man, that was a hell of a cast, and CJ and Toby were two of the best characters ever to walk and talk. Anyway, can’t watch (the honestly not-that-great) Bartlett in the t.v. White House knowing who’s in the DC version.

No, my comfort watching of late are the crew from Leverage. Nate and Sophie and Eliot and Hardison (“Dammit Hardison!”) and Parker (Parker!) are exactly who I need to get me through.





I turn to my computer

17 02 2017

Bought it, and a router.

Of course, I spend an hour (or so. . . ) looking at router reviews, settled on two or three (of the cheaper ones), checked reviews, then said What the hell and went with the mid-priced one. Again, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Part of the issue is just making my way through the completely different kinds of reviews. The variety makes sense, really: a technophile will look focus features x, y, and z, while an end-user like me, who just wants something reliable, will likely focus on p, q, and r. Still, reading the techie reviews can at least clue me in the importance of, say, x, and so I’ll factor that into my considerations as well.

There is no method to my shopping anxiety. I look top-ten lists, check various tech mags, and toggle back-and-forth between those and Amazon reviews (some of which are themselves quite tech-informed). I’ll then pull up this product and that, compare the specs, the prices, then maybe check out a few more products, check more reviews. I’ll twist myself around in a self-made tornado of information before I say, Paugh, enough.

I am, after all, only buying a computer, not a spouse.

As for the experts, I might concede their criticisms of while nonetheless concluding that it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Many years ago, when my little workhorse HP printer broke down (after a number of jerry-rigged fixes that kept it chugging along) and I was casting about for a new printer, I went with a highly-tech-rated Epson.

I didn’t love it. The features the reviewer concentrated on were not particularly the ones which mattered to me—something I realized only after I unboxed the thing. I still have it, but it’s basically stowed out of the way and hauled out only when I need to scan something.

For my day-to-day printing, I went with another boxy little workhorse, a Brother laser-printer. It’s basic—black-and-white, no scanning—but that sucker prints page after page after page of text; given that I do almost all of my printing in draft mode, the print cartridge can last for years.

So, are my new purchases what a technophile would buy? Hell no. I can appreciate their insights while recognizing that, when it comes to computers, I am pretty goddamned basic. And I’m all right with that.





I press Execute

15 02 2017

What a pain in the ass.

Buying a new computer, that is, or, more directly, trying to figure out which computer to buy.

I’m going low-end full-on laptop (non-gaming), meaning something in the $500-700 range. I thought I’d found a month or so ago what I wanted to buy, but tonight as I was clicking around, I got caught up in this review and that and ohmymotherpuppinggoddess by the end I was convinced that no matter what I’d choose, I’d choose wrong.

Fuuuuuuuuck.

Anyway, I think I’m going to go with what I’d originally settled on. It seems to have the combination of features I want, it’s at the lower end of the price range, and, y’know, given that this baby is 8 1/2 years old, anything I get will be better and faster than what I’m used to.

So tomorrow (payday!), or Friday, I’ll finally hit BUY. Then I’ll worry. Then it’ll arrive. Then I’ll instantly love/hate it. Then I’ll get used to it and it’ll be fine.

All of this agita for . . . and it’ll be fine. Shees.





Outside gets inside through her skin

13 02 2017

“Host.”

Ultimately, [Humphrey] said, his intent was to let men have a say. “I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

All of the words I have would not be enough—which is fine, since he doesn’t deserve words, anyway.

Via