Thursday, December 22, 2011

As I Walked Out This Winter's Day

The Christmas Tree Guy
Is gone leaving just the smell
Of pine on the air

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Look


Last week I was at a loose end, got curious, clicked something I shouldn't have and trashed my bailing-wire and chewing gum blog markup template, replacing it with a new one supplied by Blogger that has drag'n'drop gadgets, some of which actually work.

Shame I never got round to saving the original template.

I think I've gotten most of the value-added styles back in place, or rather, I've improvised several workarounds that sort of do the same thing the old styles did.


The new look: good or bad? Please let me know.

The Horrible Nastiness of Unpleasantness (aka Life)

So, since I last posted life has been crashing over me like cool, wild, blue surf contaminated with sharp scrap metal, nuclear reactor linings and toxic waste.

The LIRR has periodically broken down, never so spectacularly as the evening of hell when a signal outage on the lightning-prone Babylon branch was converted into a system-wide debacle by "a techie who pushed the wrong button", but once so badly I was obliged to take a train so late that I was greeted by my boss with an unironic "Good Afternoon".

Truly these people deserve some sort of Award for Dedication to Lack of Service. I'm not blaming the crews. They generally at least are in it with the rest of us and strongly motivated to Get Things Moving. I blame the middle- and upper-management who it seems cannot find their collective backsides with both hands and a map. Disasters happen, but why do the same disasters continue to cripple the service year after year?

I finally screwed up the courage to visit the skin doctor, who hacked off some of that newly mutinying organ and sent it off for tests. Specifically a skin tag that was growing under my left eye and entering my field of vision1 and a wart on my thumb that reacted to my attempts to freeze it off cryogenically by regrowing, and the attempt at excision by the application of corrosive chemicals by springing a number of freely bleeding wounds which got infected.

There was nerve tissue in there too, as I found when I attempted a home surgery with a razor blade and a small rubber ball, which I bit in half but managed not to swallow as I hopped screaming around the bathroom/operating theater, crashing into things and begging for death's sweet embrace. One in the win column there. And the nerves turned out to be the type that don't become numb when the skin is frozen with the old cryogenic kit as a second impromptu surgery attempt proved.

Doc Hacksaw grabbed my head and, knocking my glasses to the floor with a skillful sweep of his scalpel hand whipped off the offending growth, missing the eyeball by several thicknesses of the blade. I had to admire his technique, especially when he managed to switch out the knife for a small electric branding iron and rammed it into the wound he had inflicted, all without receiving any wounds of his own from my frantically clawing hands and thrashing legs (though I did manage to bite his nurse as she applied the dressing, which mollified me a little).

Deciding that the wart called for Heroic Measures, Doc Hacksaw first anethetized me with a hypo fitted with a blunt needle, stabbing me in many places, some of them close to the area he planned to work on. I cooperated by showing him some of my very best Words of Power and attempting to grasp him by the windpipe. Then, brandishing his scalpel, so sharp the edge gave off blue radiation as it snipped the very photons of light in half when it moved, utilizing what I call a "Jack the Ripper" grip, he began to stab and slash with gusto. Naturally this produced a very deep wound in my thumb, which bled freely.

"Nurse!" screamed the crazed dermatoligist. "The cauterizer! No, the big one!"

I encouraged his efforts with manly falsetto screams as oily red steam rose from my (formerly) good hand and the delicious smell of burning meat filled the room. Then he gave me some cream to put on it and it was all over.

The Stevieling managed to infest her computer with Chechnyasoft and was plagued with pop-ups telling her she needed to buy her anti-virus software. This helpful message highlighted the fact that the still-under-subscription McAffee software she has was turned off, again.

This makes twice in about 8 months.

I was livid, so much so that Mrs Stevie told me to stop shouting at the Stevieling but became less involved when I explained that:
      a) even an administrator has to manually escalate their permissions in order to make registry changes (which had clearly happened here) so she had quite obviously clicked "yes" on a window without reading the message in the box
     2) The last time this had happened I had taken a day off work and it still hadn't been enough time to get the machine working again
     þ) I could take no time off this week and therefore the computer repairs would take time needed to put up the decorative Arch O' Festivity and get the Pre-Lit Yule Bush down from its perch in the garage2 and
     ♥) That although the Stevieling had sworn to me that she was scanning her computer for infections when I asked each week, I could find no logs to prove it, and the only log I could find was he one from the scan I ran right after I fixed the damned machine eight months before.

It was five nights of pure hell getting the basted thing free of the grip of former soviet cyberthuggery. I thought I could do it in two, but the infection poved immune to the two day fix (either that or that wretched kid re-infected the machine within minutes).

So, life as usual, really.

  1. I don't have enough to spare these days to allow it to be blocked by stupid growths
  2. That more than anything served to get Mrs Stevie in the proper frame of mind re: needlessly virused computers