Friday, April 23, 2010


That's how we felt when we discovered that the computer John had bought in January was having problems recently and would have to get a new hard drive. WHAT?! John called customer support and was walked through some test in order to find that out. Oddly enough, I had run a diagnostic test myself just the week before, but the code that came up wasn't on the list I had access to, and I misunderstood the text that mentioned something about not being able to access a disk, something something. Turns out, that *did not* refer to the CD disk drive. *sigh* None of that would have been that big of a deal, but when John went to save the C drive to the backup disk, Windows didn't bother to include any of his data in that, only the programs and their data. Then the technician came and took away the old drive and mailed it off for reconditioning before we noticed the problem. John has pointed out that he was lucky to only have had the computer for a few months and not to have put that many new documents on it, to have some data in email and online, but it was still a very sucky frustration.

In less frustrating news, I got a rush translation job this week and made a wad of cash. Ka-ching! Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of time I would need and had to put in some extra hours I would normally reserve as non-work time late in the evening and early in the morning. But the doctor who hired me didn't seem to mind that it was a little late.

Hannah is harassing us to make an elaborate birthday party supply order from amazon us, just so she can have a ton of Star Wars swag on her birthday. Most of her friends are going to be out of town; we could make the Star Wars stuff ourselves with our color printer and some glue. Today I was teasing her about her nerd cred--she misremembered the subtitle on a Fantastic Four (*heh* I just typed "Fabulous Four") movie--and she said it was hard growing up in a nerd-free country. I asked if she felt like she didn't fit in, but that wasn't the case--there just aren't enough nerd role-models here to emulate.

I lost some of my balcony plants, including the mystery tree, the smaller walnut tree, and the lavender. I didn't really like the lavender very much, and I didn't even know what the mystery tree was, so I guess it was not too much of a loss, and now I can reuse their pots. All my flower boxes have sprouted so far, and I finally have seedlings coming up in my herb pot as well. Yay, cilantro! I need to cut back my poinsettia and just generally do some gardening this weekend.

John and I take turns planning meals and grocery shopping, but Hannah was not pleased with John's choices this last week, many of which were meat-less. "I neeeed meeeeat!" she moaned at every meal. Scurvy, I am telling you. Anyhow, today I got sick of her whining about the lack of meat and the lack of instant food for lunches and told her that if she didn't like it, she could do it herself. And she did! She sat down with our kitchen notepad and started planning meals. When she ran out of ideas, she fetched a stack of cookbooks and started looking for more ideas. One of us still has to drive her to the store (and probably cook some of the meals), but my baby sacked up and offered to take on some responsibility! *sniff*

And now I will try to post this with the poor internet connect from up in our sunroom.

-Nee in Germany looks forward to meat

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Forgetful Jones

God, I always leave something out of my posts, so this will be the general catch-up post.

Poor Hannah, with her Star Wars fetish, missed out on the Star Wars characters at the mall last winter. After one of our near-death attempts to deliver Hannah to a birthday party in a different town--a successful attempt, although we almost killed each other over it--John and I went grocery shopping at said mall, and it was overrun with adults dressed up as Star Wars characters. One of the shops had a big Star Wars sale, with costumes and Lego sets on display in the main mall. I couldn't find a light saber like Hannah wanted, and I couldn't be tempted to buy one of the Lego sets, but I was tempted to pinch the butt of one of the Storm Troopers to see if I could get a reaction. I decided against it in the end.

Hannah has also been haunting an American costume shop online and has discovered a Princess Leia costume that she wants. It comes with a Darth Vader head for collecting candy in, but she thought something a little more R2D2 would be more appropriate. She is bemoaning our lack of a dog--we aren't really dog people, though--because they even make Star Wars costumes for dogs. I can't remember the second choice, but the first was Han Solo.

And in technology forgetfulness: After I got John's Palm up-to-date, I plugged in a card reader to get some photos loaded onto my computer from our digital camera. John commented on the many little gadgets I have invested in recently, and I had to point out that if our many electronic devices still work fine except for one little detail--Palm cable won't connect to computer, camera cable won't connect to computer--isn't it better to buy a little gadget for 10 or 20 bucks and get several more years out of the device rather than toss it and shell out hundreds of bucks for a replacement? I had him there.

John and I aren't averse to buying things, just wasting things. Which is why the washing machine repair man is coming next week to look at our washer. It should heat its own water, but I don't think it has done that in a while. That hasn't concerned me too much, because even Al Gore recommends washing in cold to save energy. But when slimy gray bits started showing up on our clothes, bits that would not have formed if we had been able to occasionally use hot water (as proved by my pouring hot water into the machine and getting rid of the gray bits behind the drum), then it is time for a repair.

And now if I have forgotten anything, it will be lost to the mists of time.

-Nee in Germany uses Forgetful Jones for her Facebook icon, sometimes

Monday, April 19, 2010

I fought the technology, and I won

John has been so sweet; he's been posting my technological successes on his Facebook page, even.

It started with hooking up my laptop to our LCD tv. John has been on a youtube kick, watching various stand-up comedians like Billy Connelly, and Eddie Izzard. And he also found some Far Side specials. So of course he wanted to share these with us, but he couldn't quite figure out how to force us in front of the little screen on my laptop, or crammed in front of the desktop computer in the study. That's where I came in.

All of these little successes started with some online research, naturally, so I could avoid buying things that I would then have to send back. Five packages in the mail later, I have set up a converter (requiring three separate cables) for connecting my laptop to our tv, and installed an infrared device on my laptop so we can finally (after 2 years) upload John's data from his Palm for safekeeping and also download electronic texts for him to read.

And of course, buying the proper equipment didn't mean that it just up and worked as required on the first (or second, or third) try. There was all sorts of adjusting and more looking up tips before I hit on the right combinations. One thing that still irks me about the tv set-up is that I can't just use it as a projector, i.e., what's on my monitor shows up on the screen. I had to set up the tv as a second monitor, which means that my monitor is now functionally twice as wide, with the left half still visible on my laptop and the right half visible on the television. It is strange mousing off the right side of the laptop monitor and trying to keep track of where I am on the tv screen. But once you get it set up, you can't really tell that it's not tv-ready programming.

I also bought some more ink for our printer to see if the name brand really does a better job than the store brand, or if our printer is just that sucky by itself, and some new surge protectors for John's newish computer. It has been doing this weird shut-down thing that could be due to our landlord's shitty wiring, and I'm hoping the new strip will help.

Unfortunately, I have allowed all this setting up to cut into my work time, so I need to see if I can't get caught up soon. That may be easier said than done, though. Hannah and I have dentist's appointments tomorrow after school, and I am helping her get ready for a math test on Friday. Luckily, she has afternoon class at least one day this week, so I have a few more child-free hours in which to work.

I never know how to end these entries. Maybe I should take a page out of mimi smartypants' book:
—mimi smartypants wrestled a pangolin once.
—mimi smartypants does what her brain tells her.
—mimi smartypants tells James Joyce, in no uncertain terms, to put it back in his pants.

-Nee in Germany is good with plugs