October 26, 2011

ANOTHER FRELLING DAY

 

ARRRRRGH.  I HAVE A BOOK DUE IN THREE MONTHS.   I DON’T NEED TO BE DRIVEN ROUND THE TWIST BY TECHNOLOGY.*  I have wasted an EXTRAORDINARY amount of time today . . . trying to get Feynman’s SIX EASY PIECES to download onto Pooka.  I have already referred to the possibility of a small unassuming fringe of supporting background maths** in SHADOWS, except that maybe I mean physics***, and if it’s the latter, the obvious person to start with is Richard Feynman.†

            Every time†† I have tried to download something from frelling www.audible.co.uk except that by now I’m fairly sure it’s not audible’s fault, everything blocks up like a kitchen sink drain full of tea leaves.  This time . . . when I’m downloading something I really need to be listening to NOW . . . I’m completely stymied.  Every time I jump through these downloading hoops there’s at least one more hoop than there was last time, but I’ve eventually toiled through to the last.  Not this time.  The audible ap on Pooka just sits there saying ‘connect to WiFi or iTunes’.  YOU ARE CONNECTED TO WIFI AND ITUNES, YOU MORON.  YOU’RE SITTING THERE WITH A CABLE COMING OUT OF YOUR BUTT AND STUCK INTO THE LAPTOP’S SIDE.   The wretched book is on the laptop—it’ll play on the laptop—but it won’t travel down the wire into Pooka, who is clearly manifesting her Apocalypse side.  I even swapped cables, thinking it might be a cable problem. . . .

            I emailed Archcomputerangel Raphael at about 10 o’clock tonight and . . . because Raphael is both angelic and mad, he answered.  He’s on holiday.  He’s on holiday and he’s still checking—and answering!—business emails at ten p.m.†††  He’s going to rouse poor Gabriel tomorrow morning, who is busy holding down the fort by himself, and try to get him here to scrape me off the ceiling (again) and (possibly) do something about the situation.  It’s not like it’s just the downloading problem—it’s my ongoing broadband nightmare.  I’m not crashing off the internet as often, I just frequently go to a page and find the ‘page not found’ squatting there like a toad.  Refreshing 1,265,928 times will usually bring whatever it is back again . . . eventually . . . although meanwhile I’ve read two more chapters in a book I’m not enjoying nearly as much as I should be due to reading it under adverse conditions.  The blog is particularly prone to these Cheshire cat fits when only a fiendish grin is visible.  And having got so far, it’s all very well copying from Word and then hitting ‘save draft’ before I hit ‘publish’, in case of accidents, but the ‘save draft’ takes another minute or two and I have no reason to think it’s any more stable that just hitting ‘publish’ in the first place. 

            And the TIME WASTED.  Gazum frelling argleblargle FRELL.  At a moment—or rather at a three months—when I absolutely cannot afford to be wasting time—I am WASTING TIME.  STRESS.  STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

            Now let me tell you one more story of straightforwardness and efficiency, although taking place in a different dimension, out here in the reality of bruises and . . . rain.  You will remember that the auction/sale did rather better than Blogmom or I were expecting.‡  I hastily ordered some backlist books which have been infuriatingly slow to arrive, not least because once they did arrive on these shores, the frelling carrier (a) kept putting cards through my door saying SORRY TO HAVE MISSED YOU, we’ll be BACK some day in the next MONTH, some TIME between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., but we’re not going to tell you WHEN and (b) ignoring my emails saying WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LEAVE IT?

            I wrote them again over the weekend saying, I have no particular reason to believe you’ll pay attention to this email when you’ve ignored the last three, but this is my LAST try before I attempt to fight my way through your possessed-by-automated-demons phone labyrinth again this coming week.   Of course they didn’t answer.  But today hellhounds and I went back to the cottage on an extra hurtle because I wanted to fetch Pooka’s other cable, in case the downloading problem was the cable.  It’s been tipping down rain most of the day, and I hadn’t been planning to go as far as the cottage again because the rain’s got heavier as the day’s gone on.  But I wanted that cable.  So we plunged through the door, streaming, and found . . . another card on the floor from the carrier.  They’d delivered the box.  They’d left it as requested.  YAAAAAAAAY.

            Um.  Modified yaaay.  When I tell anyone to leave a parcel, I am very specific about where.  Beside the dustbins there’s a little roof, provided by the fair and clever hands of Atlas.  Also, it’s a roof, you know?  You can see it’s a roof.  Roofs are good for keeping rain off, right?  So . . . whoever this driver is had left it between the dustbins—opposite the roof, not under it—so not only was it sitting in the torrential rain, it was receiving additional drenching from the run off from the dustbin lids. 

            But because I had come home for the frelling cable, the box had not yet soaked through.  I guess I have to count this as a win. . . .‡‡ 

* * *

*Which is further yanking me around at this moment.  I’m listening to Ruddigore on Radio Three via their ‘listen again’ programme—or let’s say I’m trying to listen to it—and it’s just dropped off the frelling airwaves again.  ‘Low bandwidth’ the pop-up box says, primly.  The story of my frelling life, lately.  Low.  Bandwidth.^  Arrrrrrrgh.  When the frelling government does all these useless frelling studies of where they can shoehorn in more people—and the whole ‘build more houses!’ thing makes me nuts anyway, when we’ve got a colossal empty house problem already, at least in Hampshire—when they are passing over the whole infrastructure question because it doesn’t suit them to recognise that there is more to be considered than merely plot size for houses, do they even have internet access and broadband feasibility as an item on their list to be passed over?  Or is that a dumb question?  Don’t answer that.  

^ It’s presently not saying anything.  It’s not playing either. 

** And have therefore terrified most of you into silence, apparently.  I did tell you that you have nothing to fear:  you’ll only notice it as a lack of polar bears in the desert.  Or as I said in the afterword to OUTLAWS:  I wanted to make the story historically unembarrassing— I’m aiming to make SHADOWS scientifically unembarrassing—at least up to the point where I jump off the deep end clutching my solemn textbooks and laughing maniacally.  At the moment the magic, and the gruuaa, are winning.  Which is fine.  As long as it’s a fair fight. 

*** My ignorance knows very few bounds. 

http://www.amazon.com/Six-Easy-Pieces-Essentials-Explained/dp/0465025277/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319583651&sr=1-1

 †† Except not every time.  That very first book—DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT [American] HISTORY—the first two of its four parts downloaded fine.  Nothing like setting the frelling hook before you start fishing in earnest. 

††† Angelic.  Mad. 

‡ And in case you’re wondering why I’ve never given you a final absolute total, that’s because I don’t know what the final absolute total is.  It’s not so much the postage and envelopes and pads of A6 paper and things, I’ve got books that were donated by the publishers and books that I paid for—at author’s rate, mind, but still, paid for, and since there are more than two or three of these I need to reimburse myself, which I hadn’t originally expected to be an issue—and I’m going to have to take the whole show to the Tax Man and find out how to present it, and what goes in column A and what goes in column B, because I’m going to have to pay tax on it and then wait till the lovely IRS grudgingly disburses at least some of it back again.  This has been a steep learning curve and no mistake.  I have every intention of doing a little tiny charity auction again some day, because it’s a perfectly good idea and when you’re not thinking ‘eeep’ it’s also fun, but there’s an emphasis on little tiny.  And Blogmom hasn’t forgotten the doodle window, it’s just that all the stuff she didn’t do while she was running the unexpectedly-successful Days in the Life sale/auction, has kind of fallen on her and she’s still catching up. 

            However, it is safe to say that I will be, thanks to your enthusiasm, writing a Very Attractive Cheque for the bell fund.

‡‡ The continuing saga:  when I went to copy and paste into the blog admin window . . . it took six and a half minutes for the thing to open, an additional minute while it thought about accepting the copy and paste I had just (as I thought) inserted . . . and when the words finally appeared on the blank white screen all the formatting had disappeared.  No punctuation.  No paragraphs.  Isn’t life with modern technology fun?

Frell and broad beans

 

Frell and damnation, it’s already the middle of the night and I still have a blog post to yank out of aetherwhere.   I’ve shipped off a lot of photos to Blogmom so that she can start creating the masterwork that will be this auction.  I was just saying to her that I take some comfort in the thought that my bells will not need serious restoration work again for another century or two.

            Meanwhile I’m very pleased that people on the forum are expressing interest and enthusiasm.  I feel my neck is sticking out pretty far.  I will be glad if this auction is a relative success not only for my bells’ sake but for mine, so I don’t look like an utter drooling prat.   So thank you all once already, and please keep those bid-button-pressing fingers limber.

Gonetotervs:  Another suggestion to raise money — if you still own the e-rights to any of your earliest short stories, put them individually on Amazon for $2.99 and see how many of us will buy them…..

Merrilee and I have a Cunning Plan—although probably not in time for the auction.  Watch this space.

Texturedknitter:  Lots of attractive things in your auction list. I’ve never cared about collecting autographs, but regret now that I didn’t get one at Balticon, lo those many *mumble* years ago.

Nothing to regret!  I’m still writing my name on things!  (I’ve still got the Balticon 1898 mug somewhere, holding pencils or paperclips or dragon baby teeth or rose petals or something.  The date on it is a little startling, I agree.) 

Also, maybe offer a little bat doodle thank you, alternate to the bells doodle thank you? I’m kind of unreasonably fond of the bats (distance helps with this, I expect).

I’m fond of the little frellers myself.  I like hearing them enjoying themselves in the accommodations provided . . . just not so much at 5 a.m.  I’m not quite sure how we’re going to arrange this, but doodle-buyers will be allowed some say in what the doodle will be.  Certainly anything that appeared in last night’s extravaganza is fair game.  Although doodles evolve, as anyone who doodles knows.  Last night’s Hermione or spider or running hellhound may not be next week’s Hermione or spider or running hellhound.  The map of Damar will probably stay fairly constant however.  

librarykat:  once things get going, I’ll see what I can bid on, or simply donate (depends on how crazy bidding gets)

Donations are good*—but you can at least buy a doodle!  (Or three!)  I’m hoping to offer both $5 and $10 doodles (there is also going to have to be some add-on for postage, but I haven’t faced this yet), but I’m dependent on what Blogmom tells me about the tactical technology of all this.  I’m also hoping that there is some clever way I can say/offer that if any biddable item is particularly hot, if it’s something I’ve still got spare copies of, I’ll make available extra copies at top bid price. 

Diane in MN:  Which we are going to be expected to sell tickets to. We’ve already had one pep talk, not to say exhortation, from Vicky about this.
Oh gods. I spent four years in high school having to sell things as part of fund drives, and made a solemn vow that I would NEVER SELL ANYTHING AGAIN. Which has meant, on more than one occasion, buying a lot of raffle tickets that I wasn’t about to try to unload on my friends and acquaintances. You have my very sincere sympathy for this. Do you suppose Vicky would let you off if your auction brings in a pile of cash?

THIS IS EXACTLY THE PLAN.  THIS.  IS.  THE.  PLAN.   I am totally hoping to lay a startling cheque in Vicky’s lap and add ‘and I’m not selling any frelling tickets.’  So, listen, everyone, not only are you contributing to the bell fund, you’re contributing to GETTING ME A REPRIEVE FROM TICKET SELLING.   Going around confronting people with stuff you want them to buy is the worst.  You know all those studies that say that public speaking is the majority number one fear?  I can do public speaking.  But selling things?  The mere idea makes me feel slightly ill.   Brrrrrrr.  So, bid in the auction.  Buy doodles.  Please.  I’ll stay up late drawing portraits of your Aunt Fanny and setting Chesterton’s Lepanto to music.   Anything.  Just don’t make me sell tickets.    

CathyR:  Can’t wait for the auction! *so excited* !!

This is the right attitude.  We support and encourage this attitude. 

AJLR:    *sits poised on edge of computer chair, with finger flexed over the PayPal button*

Yes!  Yes! 

B_twin:  I’m eyeing off that copy of ROWAN and SUNSHINE…

AJLR:  OK, BIDDING WAR in prospect!  And if R and I have to live on bread and dripping for a week in aid of Robin’s bells, well, I’m sure he won’t mind…

Someone married to a bellringer has to understand.  (Please quote me.)

Glinda:  I’d go for a bell doodle. Or a bat doodle. Or how about both together, for a bit more money?

This is the idea behind the $5 and $10 options.  Or two doodles. 

Black Bear:  Hey all, eyes off that copy of Rowan!!!

AJLR:  Gonna make me, huh, huh?
*squares up to Black Bear* 

Umm . . . ROWAN is one of the ones I have extra copies of . . . ::whistles nonchalantly:: 

Amyrose:  What about just selling autographed copies of various books? I would gladly pay $10-$20 in addition to the price of the book, especially since it’s for such a good cause.

 I’d consider this.  Anyone else out there interested? 

Of course, then who would ship them out? And who would order the necessary books? I suppose that would be a logistics nightmare.

Well, me.  That’s who’s doing all the grunt work anyway.**  But I wouldn’t expect the demand to be all that overwhelming.  Famous last words, I suppose.

But – *wistfully* – it would be nice to get a copy of Spindle’s End with a signature. And maybe a doodle of a spider… or a fox..

I could do that.  Oh, fox!  I could do a fox.

PamAdams:  I would certainly buy a doodle or maybe two. (Plus I’m hoping for some Peter books–any chance for King and Joker or Skeleton-in-Waiting?)

Another thing about an auction list is you probably can’t let it get too long and overwhelming or people will take one look and go back to reruns of THE WEST WING.  Unless you’re Sotheby’s, which I am not.  And I think KING and SKELETON don’t appear because we haven’t got spare copies.  Peter had this appalling habit of giving ALL his copies away and neglecting to order more.  And then the book goes OP and that’s that.  

AnguaLupin:  …Now I really have to find money in the budget to bid on the Serious Doodle. 

Oh good.  Yes please. 

Mrs Redboots:  Is there anything the Hellgoddess can’t do????

Write books that sell millions of copies.  Knit like you can.  Ring a touch of Stedman Triples.  Ring even a plain frelling course of Cambridge minor in hand.  Stop my roses from getting blackspot.  Convince my hellhounds to eat every day.  Sing like Beverly Sills/Marilyn Horne/Janet Baker/Joyce DiDonato/Bryn Terfel.  Fly like a pegasus.  End world hunger. . . .

I love the doodles!

Oh good.  Thank you!  Thank all of you! 

Meanwhile . . . you won’t remember this, but a couple of months ago I made reference to a Secret Gardening Project.  Look. 

First fruits. Er, vegetables.

My very first edible crop . . . of anything but apples off my predecessor’s tree, and my little patio peach and nectarine trees (this year’s harvest are ripening nicely, thank you).   Peter used to grow our vegetables but his back has not been cooperating this year with the basic gardening concept of lots of bending over.  I saw a tray of six-inch broad-bean seedlings out in front of the florist’s and thought oh . . .  feh . . . nothing ventured.  And they take up a huge amount of room, demand to be watered all the time, and totally refuse to be staked in any way I understand staking*** . . . and then you get this weeny handful of pods after all that, which are mostly pod.† 

Mostly pod. Sigh.

            But then you bite into a broad bean that was still on the plant an hour ago and you say ‘oh.  Wow.  Yes.  This is why.’  So I probably will do it again next year.    Maybe I’ll try a few more plants.   Maybe . . . 

* * *

* I’m also thinking that after all of this I will have to figure out how to get a recording of us ringing our newly cleaned, pressed and mended bells.  I’m the one going CLANK. 

** And Fiona, of course. 

*** Note to self:  broad beans are not dahlias. 

† I should get about this much again, I think, unless the next lot of pods decide they’re not having a good time and decamp to the Bahamas.

Signing. Survived.

 

I AM SPECTACULARLY OFF LINE.  SPECTACULARLY.  I CRASHED AND BURNED WITH DAZZLING, NAY, EPIC GRANDEUR LAST NIGHT, AT BOTH THE MEWS AND THE COTTAGE, WHEN I TRIED TO POST WHAT FOLLOWS HERE NOW, AND I CAN’T GET BACK ON.  THIS COMES TO YOU BY WAY OF A FRIEND’S MOBILE TOGGLE, AND WHEN I’VE POSTED THIS I WILL DISAPPEAR FOREV . . . I MEAN, UNTIL COMPUTER MEN CAN COME AND SORT ME OUT WHICH, SINCE THIS IS A FRIDAY, BECAUSE ALL DISASTERS HAPPEN ON FRIDAYS, MAY NOT BE TILL NEXT WEEK.~  HAVE A NICE SOMETHING OR OTHER.  GAAAAAAH.

OH FRELL’S BELLS.  You’re going to have to wait at least till tomorrow for some photos, I’m afraid.  Cathy R took lots, as per my request, and she’s even loaned me her camera’s memory card and . . . it won’t fit in my computer.  I thought I had an extra super-sized slot*, but . . . no.  And Mrs Redboots, while eight of us were sitting around at the café afterward waiting for our food,** emailed me the ones she took, but Outlook has managed to lose them.***
So.  There was a signing.  I think it went pretty well.  The nice man at the shop was smiling when we left, but that could of course be because we were leaving.
There were no bats last night either, and I’m pretty sure there really weren’t, because I was sleeping badly enough that I’d’ve noticed if there were.†  Got out of bed finally in a weary, resigned sort of way and stared owlishly at the heap of pink leotard, lacy blouse, black leather mini, sparkly silver tights and sequinned leopard print All Stars.
It was sheeting rain.  Okay, that’s fine, it means I don’t have to worry about watering my pots, and it may mean I get to sleep tonight due to the signing being over plus a continued absence of bats.††
Hurtled hellhounds.
Put on the pink leotard, lacy blouse, black leather mini, sparkly silver tights††† and sequinned leopard print All Stars.
It stopped raining.  Perhaps this was a good omen.
I went to train station.
Got on train.‡
Knitted, somewhat frantically, all the way to Waterloo.  Golly, the blood-pressure headaches and tension stomachaches I might have avoided, all those early years when I did do a certain amount of business travelling, if I had discovered knitting.  It’s not like it makes all the anxiety go away, but it is like managing to run just fast enough to stay ahead of the ravening monster chasing you.  Or like sometimes, when you’ve taken a painkiller, and it’s worked, but you can still feel the thing with teeth trying to get in and bite you:  the drugs can hold it off but can’t make it go away.   Knitting on the way to a public author thing is a bit like that.‡‡  And in this case frelling PEG II has been messing with my head again, and so I was thinking irritably about the amount of ratbaggery I’m putting up with over this thing-I-said-I’d-never-do, a more-than-one-book story, as I was on my way to sign copies of its elder sibling. . . .

* * *

There are dramas unfolding even now, after I’m home again.  First I found out I wasn’t going to be able to get at Cathy R’s photos, and then I discovered that Mrs Redboots’ took a left turn when they should have taken a right and are now in Heilongjiang Province.  I emailed Vikki K, who has a slight parallel tendency not to go to bed early, and she promised to email her photos.  This was going swimmingly . . . always a bad sign . . . when the last few photos refused to open.  Oh, frell, I said, and was about to email Vikki again and ask if she could resend, when I had a sudden attack of paranoia . . . at which point I discovered that the earlier ones, which had been opening, weren’t opening any more.
None of the photos that Vikki had just saved my day/night/blog post/credibility with by sending tonight was now available.
And then I crashed off line.
And I have spent the last hour trying to get back on line again, and screaming.‡‡‡   My computer is performing acts of aggravated iniquity I have never seen before.
And I’m now writing this wondering if I’m going to manage to post anything tonight.  There will be a nice irony in the night of my signing being the one I bomb off the air, right?  You’ll all think we all went out and got spectacularly drunk and danced on tables and were chased through the streets by the Met’s finest and then reeled home so late I barely made it to my piano lesson.§  Unfortunately . . .
So I’m now going back to the cottage, and I’m going to try to sign on there, and . . . And then I’m going to bed.  Some day I will finish telling you about the signing.  Some day there will even be photos. . . .

* * *

~ It might amuse you to know that my first thought, as I reeled from the overwhelming implications of being off line, was, well, I have lots to read.  Oh, and knit.

* In fact I remember it.  It’s directly under the smaller one.  Clearly on some other computer.  Possibly in some other life.

** And waiting . . . and waiting . . . and

*** I can hear that crackling static that passes for its laughter.^

^ And that was before everything else went wrong.  Predictive crackly laughter.  Arrrgh.

† I dreamt, among other things, about the Muddlehamptons’ concert^.  I dreamed that they were actually putting on CARMEN, and that I was singing Carmen. I have a really mean subconscious.  Really mean.

^ Which, it now being after midnight, is TOMORROW.

†† Tomorrow night, of course, I’ll be awake from worrying about the frelling concert.  If I wake up Saturday morning humming the Habanera I may run away.

††† I had forgotten how ITCHY the flaming things are.  It is one of the great failures of modern science, that they appear not to have yet developed a non-itchy sparkly fibre.

‡ With ticket helpful Penguin minder had preordered and sent to me.  How’s that for efficient minding.  And the train was on time.  Penguin apparently also has pull with the travel gods.

‡‡ One thing that can be said in favour of doing public things a little oftener than I do is that then they’re less eeep-making.  A bit like ringing quarter peals.  A quarter peal feels like a harrowing major event.  Then if you do a few in a row it’s like, oh, a quarter peal.  I can do that.

‡‡‡ What a good thing I’m not singing Carmen tomorrow.

§ At 3 pm.

In Which Our Heroine* Is Hysterical**

 

Computers are evil.  Computers are deathComputers 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.

Photos and Guest Posts

Blogmom suggested a spiffy new way of dealing with WordPress’ bad attitude toward photos, which bad attitude sometimes results in making potential guest posters crazy which from my perspective is seriously counterproductive.

So here’s the new system.  When WordPress pitches a hissy fit, you get a teaser, like the following, and a pdf.  I would rather have it all here on the blog, which is what we’ll continue to do when possible.  But when it isn’t possible, a pdf means you can still have the guest post.  And I can still have the night off.  And everybody leaves with the marbles they came in with.

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