* * *
WE INTERRUPT THIS WAS-WORKING-JUST-FINE-THANK-YOU-MICROSOFT-YOU-PIECE-OF-**** BLOG POST TO ANNOUNCE THAT I’VE JUST SPENT ABOUT HALF AN HOUR TRYING TO FIND OUT WHY MY IDIOT COMPUTER WENT PING ON ME AND NOW EVERYTHING IS RED AND UNDERLINED AND IN SOME KIND OF EDITING (?) MODE THAT I CAN NEITHER FIND NOR TURN OFF. AND IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT OF COURSE SO IT’S NOT LIKE I CAN RING UP AN ARCHANGEL AND SCREAM. I EVENTUALLY COPIED AND PASTED ‘TEXT ONLY’ INTO A NEW DOCUMENT WHICH APPEARS TO HAVE SOLVED THE IMMEDIATE ISSUE . . . BUT I HAVE TO PUT ALL THE BOLD AND ITALIC BACK IN, DON’T I? AS WELL AS REVIVE THE LINKS. I ALSO HAVE TO GO TO BED. SO THE FOLLOWING MAY END A LITTLE ABRUPTLY.
* * *
Why are the cutest, the very CUTEST, the DIES FROM CUTE/GORGEOUS* knitting needle cases/rolls/organizers ALL FOR SHORT NEEDLES? CRUMMY LITTLE DPNs AND FRELLING CIRCULARS?** AND CROCHET HOOKS. CROCHET HOOKS!
Ahem. I’ve been wasting time on Etsy.*** Generally speaking I avoid Etsy† but . . . one of the frelling knitting frelling sites I’m on the (frelling) email list of had a TWENTY PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING sale for the bank holiday. Twenty percent. Off EVERYTHING. Now I pay attention to twenty percent. I will look at fifteen percent . . . but twenty percent, I’m doomed. And so . . . I was doomed.
I’ve been eyeing up Rowan Big Wool for a while because everybody seems to love it and I’m a bit of a wannabe Rowan junkie although their magazines make me crazy, all those undernourished tragic Pre-Raphaelite-haired women†† wearing clothes that I don’t even understand how to look at let alone be able to read the blasted pattern and make the things. But then there was this: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heartbeat-3 †††
I want to make this. Well, I want to try to make this. I wasted an INSANE amount of time this weekend, The Weekend of Twenty Percent Off, trying to decide what colours to (try to) do it in. The other thing is . . . needles. GIGANTIC frelling needles. 12 mm and 15 mm needles.‡ They look like police truncheons. The little needle case I bought long, long ago ‡‡ is, ahem, full, and the addition of police truncheons is not a viable storage option. Hence Etsy. . . .
To be continued.
* * *
* Of course I want a dies-from-cute/gorgeous knitting needle case. I could keep them in a plastic bag if I were a plastic bag sort of girl. I’m not. I’m amazed you’d even ask.
** Which all look like garrottes to me, okay? Cooperate, you yarn, or I’ll garrotte you. And DPNs just scare the grrzmph out of me. I subscribe to way too many knitting magazines, and the bottom end of these give you FREE GIFTS!!! every issue.^ Cheezy plastic DPNs and ditto crochet hooks that weren’t broken out of their mould properly so they have little catchy rough places that I’m sure will contribute to the crocheting experience significantly, are popular. They are not improving my attitude toward these outliers of knitting at all.
^ Just by the way the modern coinage ‘free gift’ makes me NUTS. Here, have a gift with strings and caveats. Have an unfree gift. WHAT? Of course ‘free gifts’ that come as part of the PURCHASE of a magazine or a box of cereal or whatever the flapdoodle aren’t free by definition. So what ‘free gift’ is, is the double negative that makes the positive, or in this case the double positive that makes the negative . . . all right, all right, it’s late and I’m mushy-brained. Still. I think there may be a principle here.
Enter at your own risk. It’s the biggest indie-stall craft market in the universe. It will eat your days, your brain, and your credit card. You will also, slightly depending on what category you’re browsing, be caught up short by . . . amazing things that people have (apparently) made and are (apparently) expecting other people to buy. You know, as in spend money on. Amazing. There are a few of these even in the relatively harmless knitting supplies area.
Which brings me to Regretsy, a site honouring—if you want to call it ‘honouring’ which you probably don’t—all that people should not have hung out there in public with a price tag. However I am not going to give you a link to Regretsy—you can look it up—in the first place because the general tenor is RUDE and the opening page is . . . well, it’s not family friendly, and in the second place because she seems to have shut it down? The archive is still there—and jaw-droppingly fabulous reading it is too if you’re into that sort of thing. I find I start feeling as if I’ve eaten too much cheap chocolate too quickly but still . . . wow. You can look her up too—April Winchell—who has a web site that is a sort of very large Regretsy-style collection of the bad, the awful, and the seriously squicky, whose boundaries know no, uh, bounds. You want people being jerkfaces? Go there. She’s very funny. But . . . rude. You were warned.
However, on the subject of the successful deployment of rude, one of the shops on Etsy is http://www.etsy.com/shop/beanforest
which I discovered because FOR SOME REASON people kept sending me a link to this button:
Which I still haven’t ordered because every time I try I find myself running up a tab of about thirty quids’ worth of kitchen magnets (of course I want them as kitchen magnets) and . . . no.^ For example, upon further investigation of the deep luxuriant richness on offer, this one makes me fall off my chair laughing:
. . . Okay. I’ll behave now. Probably. But speaking of FOOTNOTES which I OFTEN AM like NOW^^, several people have sent me a link to a recent xkcd post: http://xkcd.com/1208/ Be sure to do the mouseover thing.
^ My refrigerator isn’t large enough.
^^ I’m sure it’s all very meta-whatsit to be talking about footnotes in footnotes.
† For all the reasons detailed in footnote *** above.
†† Most of the Brotherhood however would be appalled at the starved-teenager look.
††† Is anyone else getting a little cranky about the months’-old THIS JUST IN!!! opening page on Ravelry trumpteting three million users? Fine. They have three million users. I’m impressed. But I was impressed a long time ago and I think they might take the ‘just’ out.
‡ Heartbeat only requires 10 mm, but http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/may-2
is 15 mm. I thought I might finally try a hat. Especially a hat with none of this circular nonsense.
‡‡ Two years, I think? It was two years ago this past winter that Fiona tied me to my chair and showed me how to knit and purl and cast on and off while I begged for mercy, wasn’t it?
I had a computer archangel here for MOST OF THE DAY and I HOPE that some of the more egregious nonsense has been despatched to Computer Gremlin Purgatory where it can either repent or, after a decent interval in which to realign its wiring to holiness and humility, be sent on to headquarters and fry. Love that smell of burning hardware. I seem to have my email addressbook back WHICH WOULD BE NICE. Possibly email will now revert to, you know, sending and receiving. The best thing however, supposing it has been genuinely exorcised, is the SELF ZOOM feature on this laptop, which is where I (theoretically) do the most work, although it’s been getting harder and harder* as my screen ratchets around like . . . a hucklebutting hellterror.
But the presence of an archangel does tend to throw the lower orders into disarray. This would include me and dependent hellcritters. The pattern of the day was perhaps set when I stepped in dog crap not only in the churchyard but ON THE MAIN PATH THROUGH the churchyard. What is the MATTER with people?!? Every time a little old lady glares at me, out with one of my shifts of hellcritters (and I never am out without a hellcritter or two), I cringe. It’s not me lady! I PICK UP!
. . . Anyway. I was in the churchyard with the puppy at the time, juggling lead and Pooka while I texted Raphael asking for ETA since he could not possibly have got past us on our way there: Already here, he texted back, laconically. Pavlova can move surprisingly fast on those little short legs and we hucklebutted back in unison.**
But by the time he left I was dazed*** with . . . failing to understand anything he told me.† And I had three pairs of beady little eyes all wanting to go out. Now. In fact, a couple of hours ago. The problem is that the hellhounds always go out first. I put the hellterror out for a pee so she’ll last till it’s her turn, but in terms of actual hurtles, the hellhounds have precedence. But Pav was already showing signs of dismantling her crate and I couldn’t entirely blame her, while hellhounds will go back to sleep more or less indefinitely. I’ve mentioned that it’s WINTER, right? It’s FREEZING out there. There is ICE on the ground†† and your seventeen-year-old car needs to run about fifteen minutes to get the needle off COLD. I casually tucked Pav under my arm, nonchalantly picked up her lead on our way to the door, and left in my house slippers and ONE light cashmere pullover††† and no hat, no gloves, no coat . . . while the hellhounds watched suspiciously but were clearly appeased by the lack of any sign of a Real Hurtle, ie, shoes, gloves, coat, hellhound harnesses. . . .
I lasted our shortest ten-minute round and had to bite my tongue not to scream COME ON every time she stopped for a sniff. But it worked. Pav had her second mini-hurtle, hellhounds were positively friendly when we got back, and rioted with Pavlova while I shivered into my proper gear, locked her up, and prepared to go out for a real hurtle.
Oh, and I’ve written this entire blog AND THERE WAS NO ZOOMING.
* * *
* Meanwhile Astarte the iPad has connectivity issues. Neither Raphael nor I have much idea how much of them is the weird, I mean unique, I mean weird, way connectivity is set up (apparently) on the iPad (I think Raphael made an attempt to explain this to me but I started wailing and rending my garments really soon and he didn’t get very far) and how much is the ongoing and apparently permanent fact that all the wiring on the cottage’s cul de sac is made of cheap string and chewing gum, and broadband cough cough cough sits on this unstable framework uneasily, like a dowager on a shooting stick.^ Have I mentioned recently that the local MPs and the town and county councils keep announcing high speed broadband for this area? They’re still announcing it. I don’t know if ‘high speed broadband for this area’ includes rewiring cul de sacs that are presently making do with cheap string and chewing gum.
But this means that when I am having a Bad Night, as it might be last night, and I decide I might as well turn the light back on, grab Astarte and do some work, if said work includes emails or the blog, I probably can’t because The Server Is Not Available.^^
Fortunately there is reading, hard copy or e-. And knitting.^^^
^ Depends on your dowager, of course.
^^ Yes I take Astarte to bed with me.+ And no I am not going to get up and go sit at a desk. If I did that I’d never get any sleep at all. Also, in the WINTER? There are three good location choices during the winter at the cottage: in front of the Aga. On the sofa covered with hellhounds.++ And in bed+++. You will note that ‘sitting at my desk’ does not appear in this list.
+ Hands up people with iPads who take them to bed.
++ The only occasions the hellterror joins us at present is when she’s being Suppressed. We will, eventually, all four fit on the sofa at the mews. I’m not sure this can be done on the littler sofa at the cottage. I may have to ask Atlas to build an extension.
+++ Possibly with supplementary hellhounds. I know hellterrors have a remarkable line in pogosticking but I’m not sure my tall bed is ever going to be an option. At a little over seventeen pounds Pav is still quite haul-aroundable especially because she’s used to it and has always dangled well# but I will start losing ground here shortly. I’ve said before that I can carry Chaos at a pound or two under forty but Darkness at a pound or two over is a struggle. I’m hoping for a delicate svelte hellterror like Auntie Missy. A nice little square short-legged thirty-five pounds I could probably carry around in brief bursts indefinitely so long as she remains agreeable.
# I have mixed feelings about her supporting her own weight by standing on my hip or my leather belt: this also gives her rocket-launch capabilities.
^^^ One of my favourite yarn and knitting sites is as bad as the blog.+ Arrrrgh. If this is supposed to be a money-saving add-on it needs to be attached to my other favourite knitting sites as well.
+ My own blog doesn’t love me. How unfair is that.
** I’m not as good at it. It requires four legs and attitude. More to the point she was happy to gallop out in front and not linger to get under my feet, pull my shoelaces and hang off my jeans hems—going HOOOOOOOOME where there is FOOOOOOOOOOD. Usually I’m proceeding much too slowly for her. Lead manners. We are attempting to install lead manners.^
^ What do you mean, walk? FOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
*** I spent a good hour clearing off and scrubbing down the deep windowsill over the sink, and repotting most of the plants that live there undisturbed for months and months barring watering and the occasional jolt of food. Mostly I neglect my houseplants because . . . I neglect my houseplants, but as I was doing an unusually good job of tying up a repotted begonia^ I was thinking that the other reason I tend to ignore the teeming and seriously untidy jungle that are all the windowsills at the cottage is that houseplants are marginal at best—plants don’t actually like living indoors—and that while pruning and feeding outdoors usually results in a gratifying burst of growth, pruning and feeding indoors is usually the sign to die.
^ Whose name is Buffy. No, really. Buffy and Peardrop tend to be sold together so unfortunately I think it refers to the colour.
† Where is that wax tablet? I bet my iPad stylus would work on it just fine.
†† ::Checks the location of her Yaktrax::
††† Although there were two cotton turtlenecks under it. And the longjohns. And the two pairs of socks.
Yup. With a rushing sound like a very large meteorite. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh WHOMP. The earth shivers and lurches off its orbit. Well, I shiver and lurch off my orbit. And will I ever return? Well, not exactly. . . . because I now have three dogs.*
Olivia left Birmingham slightly later than I was expecting and then I was doing my silly trying to work trick and didn’t take hellhounds out for the afternoon hurtle till later than I should have** and as a result managed to miss the actual moment of touchdown. But as hellhounds and I sprinted back across the mews courtyard*** Olivia emerged from her car† . . . carrying a puppy. Which for some reason she thrust at me.
Oh, said hellhounds. What is this strange apparition? It’s not staying, is it?
Olivia locked the other three up (securely) and Pavlova, hellhounds, Olivia and I went out to the little piece of open grass at the end of Peter’s garden where hellhounds could get away from the awful phantasm, I put Pavlova down, and she made a beeline for them, wagging her still-tiny tail††. AAAAAAAUGH, said hellhounds. It’s a . . . it’s a . . . AAAAAAAUGH.
But you know . . . it could be a lot worse. A lot worse.††† And I am dazzled at the prospect of having a food motivated dog. What an idea. Blither blither blither. I was reading Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training for Dogs tonight as Pavlova had some Holding Time‡ and I was focusing on this click and then give your dog a TREAT thing.‡‡ Wow. I mean. Wow. I was furthermore sitting on the sofa for this epic moment of horizon-broadening‡‡‡ with the hellhounds draped roundabout in similar to standard pre-puppy postures.§ I’m hoping that more sofa time might resign them to Pavlova rather, in fact, quickly. . . .
* * *
* Last night I dreamed, in the twenty or so minutes I was actually asleep, that I was getting a fourth dog. NOOOOOOOO. Well, that woke me up.
** I had to go back to the cottage when I found out that I’d run out of my favourite Caffeine Triple Whammy tea at the mews, which I have a secret stash of at home for just such an emergency. And then there was Arrival of Puppy and all three of us humans went straight on to champagne. Well, I’ll need it tomorrow. AAAAUGH. I HAVE THREE DOGS^^.
^^ I think this kind of thing is supposed to drive you to alcohol. It drives me to caffeine.
*** With a large packet of tea sticking out of my pocket
† I’d missed the fun however. She had all four of them with her^ and while hellhounds and I were pelting back down main street had ferried them through the house to make the inevitable messes in the back garden where it’s easier to clean up.^^ Whereupon Fruitcake and Croissant^^^ fell in the pond. They’d just had their ears tattooed today# and Fruitcake emerged green. That’s not the water. It’s the tattoo ink. I took a photo but my camera couldn’t cope.
^ It’s all about socialisation and learning to live in the world, which includes long rides in cars, and I think furthermore that her usual range of puppysitters were having lives today. Maybe doing things like dressing up in their good clothes and speaking in complete sentences that contain no references to kitchen roll and newspapers.
^^ They recently resurfaced the mews courtyard, which is to say dumped about sixty lorry-loads of large gravel on it. Large gravel. Driving over it you feel like you’re on safari somewhere far from civilisation or the concept of paved roads. It’s pretty horrible for sprinting over too. And I really don’t want to pick puppy crap off it.
^^^ Olivia had (possibly unwisely) told Natalie, Croissant’s future possessor, about this blog, and was shortly told off to inform the proprietor that she, Natalie, was getting the prettiest puppy in the litter. I think we’ll just leave her to her little delusion, don’t you think? It’s very sweet of her to prefer her own inferior puppy.+
+I have or anyway had an adorable photo of Croissant on the sofa with forty-seven other bullies, visiting at Aunt Southdowner’s but with all the computer havoc going on lately I can’t find it. I wanted to post it here so that you would see that Croissant is adorable too. If I continue to fail to find it I’ll ask Southdowner to send it again.
# Yup. Tattooed. These are seriously pedigreed show-quality puppies and personally it seems to me a better proof of identity than microchips which first someone has to look for and second may wander.
††But golly has she grown. They do of course, puppies. But. . . golly. Her ears still aren’t standing up. Just by the way. Will you stop with the ears? said Olivia. She’s not going to be huge, okay? I guarantee it. —Noooooooooo. Don’t say things like that.
††† It could still get a lot worse, of course. But it’s not going to. Not.^
^ This includes her not turning into Yeti II.
‡ I think it will be a long time before I can knit with a hellterror in my lap.
‡‡ I’m immediately starting the process of trying to convince her to relieve herself on command. Hey, have a crap and get a treat! Dogs must think we are totally nuts.
‡‡‡ Occasionally the Holding part required two hands, but mostly I can read.
§ Eventually some negotiation will have to be made for occupation of the hellgoddess’ actual lap. And we had some, you know, proper sofa time while the hellterror slept, exhausted, in her new crate, worn out by having been repeatedly picked up and removed from underneath the apple tree which is ankle-deep in disgusting rotten apples. I’m reminding myself that having a food-motivated dog is going to be a good thing.
FIVE DAYS. TILL PUPPY.*
I’d gone to the big pet warehouse last week to view my options. The place gives me the whimwhams: it’s the size of Hyde Park, they should issue you roller skates at the door.** First you pass the glassed-in seas full of fish***. Then there are the vast enclosures down the centre that you have to skate/pony trek around, which contain 2,011 varieties of rabbit, plus hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, wombats, armadillos, capybaras, kinkajous, marmots, and rock hyraxes. By the time you get to the dog-paraphernalia section you’re losing the will to live.
And then you look at the prices of the kit you’re going to have to buy and you finish losing the will to live.† GIBBER GIBBER GIBBER GIBBER EEP EEP EEP EEP. Dogs are expensive.†† You don’t want a dog. How about a nice diamond tiara? The initial outlay is less, and the upkeep’s . . . a steal.
I had a run at the hellhounds, because the majority of their kit was rolled over from the previous generation of whippets. After that it was just food . . . except they don’t eat . . . and vet bills. Olivia is selling her puppies with the insurance already in place and, never having had pet insurance before, I’m doing it this time. I’m just about tearing holes in my cheque with the nib of my pen, I’m so doing the pet insurance thing this time.††† Meanwhile, back at the containment issue. . . .
I did have one bright idea. On my way to the pet warehouse this time I stopped at the farm store. They have some dog stuff—including crates. I bought a slightly less flash item, it’s missing out the gold tassels‡ and the cubic zirconia, but it’s essentially the same flapdoodling crate, for ONE THIRD of what it cost at the pet warehouse.‡‡ The cheezy plastic carrying crate, which I had to buy at the warehouse, and which Pavlova is not allowed to outgrow till she and the hellhounds are excellent friends‡‡‡ cost ten quid more than the medium-large proper metal crate. The plastic carrier is already riding around next to the hellhound box in Wolfgang, to hellhounds’ mild but disinterested puzzlement. Oh how little you know, you poor trusting innocents.§
* * *
* I think I’ve got her call name sorted. Peter asked, and I told him, and he said, what about her nickname? I said that for the moment she’ll remain Pavlova on the blog, but I added that there had been other suggestions, and his vote is May for Mayhem THANKS SO MUCH, MY SYMPATHETIC, SUPPORTIVE HUSBAND. PAVLOVA IS GOING TO BE YOUR LITTLE NIGHTMARE TOO FOR SEVERAL HOURS A DAY, YOU KNOW, EVEN IF YOU GET TO TELL ME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT PUPPY, AND I WILL TAKE HER AWAY AT NIGHT.^
^ Very late at night. You could suffer a lot before I take her away.
** Well. Possibly not roller skates, precisely. I never really got over the ‘dangerous’ stage of roller skating. But a pony would be nice.
*** Don’t try to buy any of these. The clerk will look at you with deep suspicion, and send for their specialist, who will emerge from some dark hideaway bearing a clipboard and a condemnatory expression, and she will then ask you 4,312 questions very few of which seem to have anything to do with the possible purchase of fish, and, when you’re worn down and off balance from trying to remember the name of your aunt’s second dog^ and whether perhaps you have a secret crippling aversion to live bloodworms^^ they spring it on you that you will be obliged to buy not merely a tank, but a circulator, an aerator, a heater, a punkah, a punkah wallah, a widglebadget, a plastic statue of a deep-sea diver and special water from Atlantis. And their home visitor will be in your area next week, and will need to approve your set-up (in triplicate) before you’re allowed to take your guppy or your goldfish home. And did you wash your hands before you came out? And did you comb your hair?
^ My aunt didn’t have a second dog. Which explains my failing in this respect.
^^ Any sane person has an aversion to live bloodworms. But I fed live mealworms to my robins and pieces of cut-up day-old (pre-dead) chick to the raptor on my wrist during that fabulous Day with Raptors a few years ago . . . WHICH WAS TOTALLY GROSS. But it didn’t ruin the experience. I could learn about bloodworms.
† Speaking of losing the will to live. THIS COMPUTER CONTINUES TO DRIVE ME FRELLING INSANE.^ Plus little teeny minor issues like re-frelling-inputting all my auto-text and shortcut-key things, like the symbols for my footnotes: AND WINDOWS EIGHT HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN HAS SHEETS MORE SYMBOLS THAN XP DID, AND IN NO BETTER OR MORE LOGICAL ORDER THAN XP DID. How many ways can I say ARRRRRRGH??
^ And furthermore I’ve just had an officious little pop-up from my argleblarging virus software for pity’s sake telling me I should close and reopen IE because it’s taking up too much memory. GET. STUFFED. FRELLINGLY.
†† . . . GO AWAY. I’VE NOW GOT SOME FRELLING RESEARCH WINDOW POPPING UP AND SAYING, WE CAN’T FIND ‘††’ WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO ABOUT IT?
I DON’T WANT YOU TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I WANT YOU TO LET ME WRITE MY BLOG ENTRY IN PEACE.
Um. Where was I? Dogs are expensive. Yes, but, quarter-gram by quarter-gram, nowhere near as expensive as fish.
††† Although PAVLOVA IS GOING TO BE SCINTILLATINGLY HEALTHY. SCINTILLATINGLY. HEALTHY. IN EVERY WAY. AND A GOOD EATER.
‡ She’d only chew the tassels off anyway.
‡‡ Salaries for the specialists, including CPD^ seminars in scowling and intimidation, are extortionate.
^ Continuing Professional Development, over here. Don’t know what it’s called elsewhere.
‡‡‡ If I’m lucky she WON’T outgrow it. No channelling of inner standard [size^] bullie grandmother, please.
^ Standards can burgeon up to eighty pounds. Minis SHOULD TOP OUT at half that at worst. I’m kind of assuming a short-legged square hellhound. But she’s a girl,+ she might be smaller. Yessssssss.
+ And I am going to like having a girl around again. I bought her a pink food bowl. It’s one of these Guaranteed Does Not Tip Over things. Hahahahahahaha. Whoever they are, they have never met a real puppy.
§ GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT. No, no, they’ll love her, they’ll think she’s a terrific idea, they’ll all get along great . . . eventually.^
^ Because I don’t have enough to worry about I was thinking . . . I have been planning to do the rolling-generations thing this time since I brought the hellhounds home six years ago because Life Without Dogs is unbearable but while you’re in the early grieving stage you can’t just go out and buy another dog(s) . . . and as you begin to get over the early grieving stage you start thinking do I really want to go through this again. Staggered generations is obviously the answer. But I wasn’t actually planning on doing it this soon. So does this mean I have to buy or adopt a FOURTH dog when Pavlova is six and the hellhounds are twelve?
Tonight’s blog may be short. My faithful workhorse laptop at the mews which has been trying not to die for months now . . . wigged/kirked/gonzoed out big time last night while I was in the middle of writing a KES ep.* I keep KES in batch files of about ten eps each and I’m near the end of the current batch and yes I back up, back up and back up so at worst I would’ve lost ONE ep but one ep is bad enough and it would still be EXTREMELY BAD FOR MORALE to see an entire batch file of KES go mega doolally before disintegrating into component pixels. This did not quite happen. But I did finish the ep on Astarte and email it to myself and then went trembling back to the cottage and posted from there.
And today, with joy totally failing to abound, I brought the no-longer-new giant non-economy-size laptop to the mews and am trying to use the fffffreller.**
I am not happy.***
* * *
* No not last night’s. I’m still holding at about ten ahead of what you guys see. Barely. There seem to be one or two other things going on at the moment. I seem still to be working on SHADOWS. I am, with terrifying slowness, addressing the doodle backlog^. And I have a puppy arriving in six days.
^ The terrifyingness of the slowness aggravated by my latest mandate. Which I will tell you about some other evening. For the moment . . . suffice that Doodling Is Happening.
** For those of you with better things to do with your minds than remember my tech embrangles, the old laptop was clearly on its way out the beginning of the year. So I bought a new laptop. Kicking and screaming when the archangels told me that I had to get over XP and move onto Windows 7. Noooo. Nooooooooooo. You’ll be fine they said. 7 is a sensible, friendly OS. Yes, and the moon is made of chocolate chip ice cream^, I said. So I bought it so that I could get over the Early Self Destructive Stage of learning to use a new OS before I started the third and final draft of SHADOWS. The last thing I wanted to do was start whacking at, and, more to the point, be whacked at by, a new OS while I’m trying to write the FINAL draft of a novel.
And then New Giant Super Flash laptop turned out to be a dud. And . . . this is when I get rude^^ . . . unless NGSF turns out to be the best computer I have ever spilled crumbs into the keyboard of, I will never buy an HP again. Because HP headquarters wasted an incredible amount of my and the archangels’ time, and their, HP’s, money, which means their customers’ money when they put their frelling prices up again, flailing around with this computer. If they had any dregwarted concept of customer relations, when they couldn’t fix it in . . . let’s say . . . a week, they should have given me a new one. But they didn’t. They dorked around, and dorked around, and dorked around . . . it was something like two months before I had the thing back again, by which time I was inevitably, helplessly well launched into that final draft of SHADOWS.^^^
So I give the ex-laptop presently lying on the piano bench in a confusingly computer-shaped heap of exploded processors and toasted hard drives and bent chips credit for trying. It hung on till I got SHADOWS turned in and its has not been the only voice moaning, for pity’s sake McKinley are you EVER going to finish it? And it can hardly be blamed if the prospect of further weeks of tweaking stretching off into the unknown foggy future was too much for it.#
^ It’s full or nearly full tonight, and it’s a nice clear night and . . . the moon looks like it’s made of chocolate chip ice cream. You know all those conspiracy cover-up theories about the moon landing? This is the real one. Pssst. The moon is made of chocolate chip ice cream. And they don’t want us to know.+
+ Seems to me it would give the space program a big fat boost, but what do I know.
^^ Rude? Moi?
^^^ And a good thing too, since it took me about four months rather than four weeks.
# And Raphael is coming on Wednesday to carry the dead warrior respectfully away and . . . just check that there isn’t some resuscitation flimflam a clever computer angel could perform on it. The original plan had been to strip everything off but Finale, the big fat music-composing programme—a lot of the old laptop’s problem is that it ran out of memory about two homeopathic software updates ago^—and leave it plugged in next to the piano. ^^
He will also be bringing several pints of fresh blood plasma, platelets and red blood cells to help repair the damage that two days of Windows 7 has done.
^ Homeopathy has many virtues but it doesn’t seem to attract good computer programmers.
^^ It’s perfectly true that laptops are more or less portable, but this one has been less for quite some time, since its battery died and it would cost nearly a new laptop to replace, and if you’re going to pretend to compose music at all you had really better have external speakers, even if they’re laughable witzy ones (yes).
*** Why is the default document heading full of Stupid Styles? Why does it keep RESETTING itself when (apparently) I breathe widdershins on some dinglebrained hyperlink? Why do new emails ping as they come in, but there’s no helpful little box that appears briefly in the corner of your screen to tell you what it is and whether you should go look at it now or not? Why is ‘select’ buried several layers in at one end of the screen and ‘copy’ is visible in the toolbar at the other end of the screen? Why are there sixty gazillion gradations of type colour and no PINK?^
^ You have to go ferret around in the customisable. Give me a frelling BREAK.+
+ Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to blog/retweet this since VikkiK sent it to me: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/02/28/147590898/they-did-it-to-pluto-but-not-to-pink-please-not-pink
I did know there was no pink in the rainbow—it’s the sort of thing people who like pink keep having pointed out to them—but I hadn’t realised the Other People were trying to make something of this. So the rainbow is defective. Get used to it. Pink rules.