In Which Our Heroine* Is Hysterical**
Computers are evil. Computers are death. Computers are bane and abomination. I HATE COMPUTERS. HATE. HATE. HATE.
You may possibly remember that last Friday I had semi-promised you the first part of the lullaby from PEGASUS this Friday—?
The day began badly. I was just strapping hellhounds in to the rocket launcher when the phone rang, and it was Peter saying, in a commendably calm tone, that if I get any emails from UPS, not to open them. Peter actually uses UPS, so it was plausible. . . .
Yes. Plausible but hostile. By the time hellhounds and I returned from pounding a little more Hampshire countryside back into place again*** the Trojan horse had burst like a piñata . . . all over the innards of Peter’s computer, which is, for the moment anyway, an ex-computer. One of Asmodeus’ minions is going to fetch it away on Monday and see if any of his incantations† can recall it from the land of the dead. Peter, poor man, has spent most of the day on the phone . . . first trying, under instruction, to limit the damage, which I gather was a bit like trying to claw the tide back from ebbing with a fork, and then trying to convince his laptop that it wasn’t just a typewriter with a screen, it could do computery things, like check email and ask Google questions. But it kept wringing its little memory modules and saying no, no, no! Beat me, spurn me, feed me to hellhounds††, but don’t make me go on line!
Meanwhile I had a piano lesson this afternoon. I’ve actually written the, or anyway some, music for the second and (so far as I know) final part of the lullaby this week, but I trust my own judgement even less than usual with the ME roaring in my ears, so I wanted to take both the corrected first part††† and the new second part to Oisin. He did print it out for me, and I should have just made the final adjustments with a pen, but you know, you have this fabulous, inbloodysanely complicated software for which your husband paid rather a bomb, you want to use it. . . and there was no going back after I’d written a phone number, a succinct shopping list, and the first bar and a half of a new piece across the top of Oisin’s print out.‡
My printer at the mews is one of the reasons I need an Asmodeus minion to pay a visit, and Peter’s ancient but reliable printer is so old that the pages it produces are really not good enough for scanning. So I brought the mews laptop—which is the one with Finale‡‡, my composing software, on it—back to the cottage tonight. And plugged it into the cottage printer, which is the good printer, except when it’s in a bad mood, fired up Finale, and prepared to print out.
Found new hardware, said my computer.
There was an error in gijjeebling with the new hardware, said my computer. New hardware may not work properly.
Then the Install New Hardware Wizard popped up. Go away, I said and closed it.
So I went into ‘printers’ and made sure that the correct printer was ticked. It was. Listen, I’d had Computer Men install the freller on all sixteen‡‡‡ of my computers; I knew it was there. It was there! It was theeeeere!
Went back to Finale. Opened lullaby, hit ‘print’.
Document failed to print, said my computer.
ARRRRGH, I said. I deleted the print queue.
It was now seven-fifteen, and I have to go bell ringing in fifteen minutes. I rebooted.
Found new hardware, said my computer. We don’t like this new hardware. We don’t like its shoes. We don’t like its haircut. The Install New Hardware Wizard popped up again. And cleared its throat meaningfully.
I closed it down again.
I tried to print the lullaby again.
Document failed to print, my computer said again. Gleefully.
The Install New Hardware Wizard leaped out of the shadows, waving exuberantly. Let me solve all your problems! I can go on line and download everything you could ever need!
I’m not in a very good mood about downloading stuff from the internet right now, I said. Let’s try something else.
Then give me the Mystic Install Printer Disk! said the wizard joyfully.
Yes. I found the Mystic Install Printer Disk. Now this is where you think that it’s all going to be all right after all, don’t you? You’d be wrong.
I put the Mystic Disk in the little drawer. It spun. It loaded . . . almost.
It was within a fingernail paring’s breadth of finishing when a Large Red Error Box with Lots of Red Xs in it exploded over the install box, saying, Some Crucial Windows XP Files Have Been Overwritten And You Are in Deep Dog Crap. Give Us Your First Born Child, No, Wait, You’re Too Old For That One, Give Us Your Windows XP Professional Install Disk And We May Save Your Ass. Or, Then Again, We May Not.
Meanwhile, the almost-loaded mystic printer disk is making small flailing motions and trying to boost itself up to peer over the edge of the Large Red Error box. Wait a minute! it says. I was here first! Let me finish!
We Are Windows. We Rule. Get Out of the Way Before We Step on You Like An Outdated Motherboard. Crunch.
I take the mystic printer disk out of the little drawer and put the Windows XP disk in.
Hey, says the New Hardware Wizard. That was bloody rude. Cancel these Windows yobos, whoever the hell they think they are. Put the mystic printer disk back in the drawer. Now.
Don’t Touch Anything, said the Large Red Error Box, or The World Will End in Fire and Peripherals.
Blow me, said the wizard. Let my mystic disk finish loading, or I’m going to crumdang the josselwidgers, and then you’ll be sorry.
You wouldn’t, said the Box.
I would, said the wizard.
At this point I have about eleventy hundred little ‘open’ boxes in hydra-headed heaps on the what-you’re-up-to bar at the bottom of the screen. None of them will close. And nothing else works either. I hit ctrl-alt-delete and the Programme Tyrant box stomps into view, cracking its whip.
Make them behave, I say.
The Programme Tyrant strives mightily for a minute or two but the wizard and the Box are locked in mortal combat. Ow! Dranglefab! WHAP! BLANG! THUMP!
So I turn the whole thing off. CRASH. I can frelling hear the components clanking together like badly rung bells.
And then I run/totter off to tower practise.
So the story thus far: I need Blogmom to load the sheet music to the lullaby on the blog. This means I have to print it out, scan it back in again, and tack it on as an attachment to an email, and send it to her. I have, thus far, done none of these things.
Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode.
* * *
* You may replace this with ‘matriarch’ if you prefer
** Yes, I do read too much Wondermark.^ http://wondermark.com/ Wait, is it possible to read too much Wondermark?
http://wondermark.com/601/ Ahem, says she who eats everything with chopsticks.
^ Does he do matriarchs? I don’t remember matriarchs
*** Landscape gets uppity if you don’t tramp on it regularly. See, you’re helping save the planet when you go for walks. It’s not just a question of your waistline.
† Asmodeus is expecting Peter to provide his own dragon’s blood, eyelash of salamander and powdered mandrake root. At the prices they charge, I feel these should be included.
†† Ha ha ha ha ha. Although you don’t know, they might have a taste for computer components.
††† And a good thing I did, since I’d managed to make one of the corrections backwards
‡ Like we aren’t frelling drowning in second sheets, from all those blank-backed galley proofs. We have scratch paper for the next million years.
‡‡ Having now had it, used it, and been slapped around by it for a year and a half or so, I like the name no more than I did in the beginning. It said, You’ve had it! You’re finished!, a year and a half ago, and it still says, You’ve had it! You’re finished! to me now.
‡‡‡ Well. Four. And one of ’em’s retired.
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