Thursday, August 19, 2010


In the weeks following my brother's death, his 'remains' - what was left of his body after the undertakers turned him into a waxen effigy - have appeared in my dreams several times. Some burial customs give me the ultimate creeps and I have scribbled a few phrases about John which may form a type of free verse/poem, eventually. After a time, I hope this image of him will fade. I'm trying to help the process by looking at pictures of him when he was alive.

Some days ago, I wrote a personal essay that might become funny, but it's very clunky at the moment and needs a lot of work. So, I decided, after stabbing at it repeatedly with my revision pitchfork, to leave it for a while and return to an old story that needed to be fine-tuned and sent out again. I was more successful with that venture, and the story is now in the mail.

When I took the envelopes to the post office to be weighed in order to determine the correct postage for sending them to the United States, the clerk informed me that one of the zip codes was invalid. What the hell? went through my mind but, since I'm a polite Canadian, I didn't say it. Why do our postal service people enter those zip codes in the computer? Who needs that information and why do they need it? In any event, I told the clerk to enter only the first five numbers of the code and the computer accepted the info and produced a stamp label. With all that meticulous attention to detail, my MS is almost certain to go to the right country.

And speaking of countries, okay I wasn't really, but I need to pretend there's continuity here, I'm disappointed in the people that run ours. Members of the Canadian armed forces have a long and honourable record, and our government says it supports our troops. But our veterans disagree and so does the Veterans Affairs Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will soon lose his job. I hope that the injustices he has pointed out will be addressed and not forgotten. A paltry lump sum payment does not adequately provide for veterans whose wounds, physical, and or psychological can have long-term effects on them and on their families. I also hope that veterans, old and young, continue to speak out about this. I am writing a letter to my Member of Parliament. He is a Conservative and I expect a pablum-like response. Possibly, the PMO has already given him a form letter to send out to grumblers like me.

I think I'll go to Timmys now and listen to the grumblers there. Maybe they have a different topic.

'Til next time.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Yay! It Works. - Wait, No, It Doesn't.

When my computer crashed and I endured more than a week without it, I noticed how much time I spend doing stupid things on the Internet. I realize I'm not the first person to discover this. I also found out that computers have capacitors that become incapacitated. I'm told it's a common problem, but that made me angry. Capacitors have been around for a long time so why can't someone design one that is more durable? I suspect the answer is - we need to sell more computers, more often. Why should I be thankful that my computer innards managed to survive to the ripe old age of six years (likely equal to 110 human years)? See "we need to sell more computers ...".

In any event, the tech guys at Kober, a reputable local firm, were able to install my old hard drive, documents intact, into a new system that uses Windows 7. Update - But, I can't change or move any of my old documents. Waah!. So, I have three drives now. My sexy new black box boots up faster than my coffee maker can prepare my first cup. That's wonderful. However, my new technology isn't compatible with my old laser printer - that's not so wonderful. And, Outlook Express is no longer available so all my old emails have gone to .... somewhere.... email Shangrilah perhaps. A Bell tech in Mumbai told me they "might" be able to recover them but they would need permission from a supervisor. I will ask them again when I'm in the right frame of mind to let them take over my computer. I hate to relinquish control.

Maybe I should be glad for any forward movement at all, because it seems the dog days of summer have been with us since mid-June and the heat shows no sign of letting go. It has provided me with many excuses though. It was and is too hot to take out the windows and clean them, too hot to get the ladder out and clean the venetian blinds, and too hot to crawl around on the floor and spot clean the carpet. Yes, I have air conditioning, but hydro costs just went up 15% and I'm conserving energy, mainly my energy, because I haven't had much to spare. And furthermore, I've decided that major cleaning might as well wait until autumn now. There will be a lot of construction taking place in the neighbourhood, so as long as I can see out the windows, there's no rush and I'll try to take my mother's advice. The dust will be there after you're gone so - don't fuss.

Don't fuss is a good motto, I think. Maybe I can live up to it, someday. In the meantime, the shiny black box has to go back to the guys who installed the new drive and the new operating system, so they can to fix it and with luck, I can access my old documents. I do have hard copies of my stories and my novel drafts, so if all else fails, I can re-enter them. I sure hope that won't be necessary. Someone could compile a whole volume of short stories based on computers gone wild.

Do you have a computer horror story?