Thursday, 28 May 2009

Hasta la Vista

I am wondering whether anyone else who runs Windows Vista had their keyboards and touchpads freeze this week. My dad and I had been discussing how to hack computer systems the day before mine bagged out, so at first I assumed he had wormed into my system and changed my password to demonstrate how it's done. It turns out this wasn't the case, however, but for some inexplicable reason my touchpad became unresponsive and the keyboard only worked if you typed about one letter a second.

As of today, I have never yet opened a virus on my computer, and I believe I've managed to avoid trojans and spyware, too (although if it's good spyware, I'd never know, right?) Neither could I think of anything I had done that would have caused my computer to dislike me, so my dad and I were quite confused.

The next day, my dad's laptop also showed the same symptoms. The only similarity between his laptop and my laptop is the operating system... So he called a friend to ask after the state of his laptop. Although it was fine at the time, the next day he called back to say he had rebooted and that his keyboard and touchpad weren't working.

Thinking that Microsoft had been given ample time to fix the problem, I took out the battery for a full restart. Now it works again.

There are two options here:
1. It was a very odd virus that fooled two engineers, one of whom is a computer programmer with Pentagon-grade encryption on his machine, and a paranoid female who hardly opens anything but text documents.
2. Vista programmers goofed - again. Presumably, rebooting the machine caused an automatically downloaded update to kill the input devices. In this case, at least the programmers were fairly fast about getting an automatically downloaded patch out there to fix the problem they caused.

Sigh. I liked XP so much better.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” Mark Twain

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Three Criteria

Spring (however cold and wet it may be) is the time for new life, new jobs, and, apparently, new romances. A lot of people in my circle of friends and acquaintances are "coupling up". Therefore, it seems only practical to relay to everyone the same wise advice that I've received on the matter.

When I was in Peru, the male team leader sat us girls all down (or we were already sitting down... or we harassed him to give us advice...) and told us three important things to require in a man. The first two he gave us pretty easily, but the third he made us wait for a few days, telling us we'd have to buy the book. We wormed it out of him eventually.

So here they are, the three criteria that any man who wishes to pursue a girl must satisfy:

1. He has to be breathing (by himself)
2. He can't suck

and (dun duh duuunnn)

3. He has to be creative so that he can romance and surprise her.

Take it to heart, these are words of wisdom. I'm still waiting for the book to come out, Shaun. :-)

"Picado-er!" Shaun, to a misbehaving Edward (translates into something like "sinner")

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Dust in the Wind (and Blinds)

Guess how many individual slats make up the blinds in our house? Go on, guess.

Five hundred and sixty five.

And I dusted each and every one of them. Individually. (Except for the ones in my bro's room, which aren't included in the count) And then I went back and scrubbed the splotches off them.

Gah! It'll be nice when my schedule pick up and Mom stops assigning me random intensive labor projects around the house...

Meanwhile, at least I had time to go see William Joseph with my sister, which was awesome! If you don't listen to his music, you should. He didn't play Dust in the Wind at the concert, as the title may have led you to believe he did, but he did play Heroes, Kashmir, and Within (among others). And we lucked out at being first "in line" to meet him after the show :-D. He's so friendly and down-to-earth, as my sister puts it.


William Joseph (on stage): And we make it a tradition to go out into the foyer to meet everyone after the show, so if you want to say hi, stick around.

Me (in far left section of seats): Do you want to stay?

Sister: Well, maybe. I don't want to wait forever in a line. But I want to go look at the piano books of his music.

Me: Ok.... (by book table in foyer) Wow, aren't we off in the boonies, stuck in this far corner like this. Apparently, not a lot of people are into buying piano books. I wonder if he's been swamped by the crowd, yet.

William Joseph: Hi.

Sister and me: Oh! Look! That's him! He just popped up the stairs which we happen to be blocking from the rest of the foyer...

William Joseph: Thanks for coming.

Sister and me: Hi!

William Joseph: I'm just going to step behind you, here.

Me: Ok... shucks, and now he's gon- no, wait, he's still standing here, looking like he wants to say something, but he doesn't know to whom.

Sister: I guess we should talk to him....


And after shaking hands, discussing with him my sister's birthday and which piano book was best to buy, and then snapping a photo with him, we stepped out of the way to let him socialize with other people. My sister bought the book, and we turned to leave, beating a path out from behind Wililam Joseph and through the mega-long lineup that had formed throughout the length of the foyer.

It was a good night. He has huge hands (though not disproportionately so), which I'm sure help him with his piano playing. And he wears eyeliner, my sister noted, but it looked fine. I have an appreciation for stage makeup.

I have no really good quote that seems to relate, so you're stuck with the Pink Panther:

Mrs. Leverlilly: You've ruined that piano!
Jacques Clouseau: What is the price of one piano compared to the terrible crime that's been committed here?
Leverlilly: But that's a priceless Steinway!
Clouseau: Not anymore!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Hookah and Plastic

A friend of mine recently bought some tobacco-free "tobacco" for a hookah pipe. Eager to convince me that there was nothing unhealthy about it, she grabbed the box and read out the ingredients.




The stuff was produced in India, so I think someone had a little fun when they were asked to translate the ingredient list into English.

On the other end of the scale, I have a necklace that came with a tag which proclaimed (alongside pictures of choking people)

Caution: Necklace is not edible
Warning: Do not eat

Oh, yes... does anyone else read labels just for the fun of it?

"That's not gibberish. It's Klingon!" -nerdy kid, after Frasier publicly blesses his son in what is supposedly Hebrew

P.S. If you didn't learn Pig Latin as a kid, you were sorely deprived.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Diary vs. Journal vs. Blog

I've been employed this summer to help out a family with a special needs kid. This kid's older sister (eleven years old) was telling me about the books she likes to read - namely the Dear Canada, Dear America, and Royal Diaries series. It got me thinking - there are quite a few books that are written in journal entry format, but most, if not all, of them declare a female author. That got me wondering why. Is it that guys just don't write journals? (And note here the switch from the term diary to journal - one is exceedingly less girly than the other)

My grandpa kept a journal when he was hospitalized at 16. I can barely read the chicken scratch, but he kept it faithfully until the little farmer's pocket ledger was full (which took half a year). Here's an excerpt, with corrected spelling and punctuation:

Apr 3, 1946: Old Smith was in hall. Pulled us out in sunporch.
Apr 4: Old Smith was mad at Jimmy and me for laughing at him. Was too cold to be moved in sunporch.
Apr 5: Had an awful time with Smith always doing something.
Apr 6: Was in sunporch. Saw a boy that was shot and removed the bullet through his side.
Apr 7: Was listening to radio nearly all day. Smith was very (indecipherable) during visiting hours.
Apr 8: Was in sunporch. Suderman boys were here.
Apr 9: Jimmy went up for an appendix operation. Old Smith tried to commit suicide - threw himself against the window, cut his arm all up. Was too cold to go in sunporch.
Apr 10: I had just a few visitors. Ed Theissen was here to see me.
Apr 11: My radio wouldn't work. Had three letters. Jimmy was feeling very sick.
Apr 12: I was in sunporch....

These entries are some of his more descriptive ones. Seems worthy of publication to me, no? It keeps me interested, at least.

But in all fairness, I can think of one novel that features a male journal-keeper: The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Goethe. Hey, there's suicide in that one, too. I wonder if it's a pattern.

By way of making this relevant, blogging is usually described as Internet journaling. It would be interesting to see whether more guys or girls have blogs. Also, I expect if we reduce the entire blogsphere into two categories, personal/narrative and technical/opinion blogs, that more girls (per capita) would have the former, and guys the latter. That's my hypothesis, at any rate.

"Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will." Goethe

Monday, 4 May 2009

Whine and Swine

Whoever thought to name the N1H1 flu virus "human swine influenza" apparently didn't notice that "human swine" makes it sound like only human low-life dirt-bag scum are susceptible to the illness.

But then, nothing about this "pandemic" really makes sense. I may be a doomsdayer on occasion, but this is not one of them.

I guess it does save time to say "human swine" instead of "human and swine". Not a lot, though.

"This place is a slaughterhouse!" Hal, from Malcolm in the Middle, speaking of a hospital