The Computer is Dead, Long Live the Computer!

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One thing I truly hate, upgrading computers.

So about two weeks ago my old desktop computer started acting up. It started responding very slowly to apps loading, etc. This concerned me, but I figured … maybe malware or something. So I tried running various malware programs, and found things were worse than I thought.

Booting to Safe Mode (Windows 7) took a long time (that’s not normal). Booting to regular Windows caused ChkDsk to kick in, and it would often find problems …

I was able to back up the important stuff, and all that, but went through some of the “stages of death” … anger, denial … I didn’t really do any bargaining, but … and eventually acceptance. I went to Las Vegas for the SCA’s Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, but my brain was really on computer foo. The Sunday I returned from Vegas, I ordered a new machine. It arrived this last Friday. I’ve been dealing with the “aftermath” ever since. I had to modify the SCA Awards List program to work properly (and gave up on a .ZIP program I’ve been using for years). I still have issues with a couple of software packages (access codes). But otherwise, it’s working, I believe, pretty close to the way I want it. Oof. Way too many hours wasted. And I have things stacked up that need doing. Sigh.

Now I need to remove the hard drive from the old computer, and put a nail through it so it is toast (make sure no one can access anything on it), and then I will donate it to the IT department at the school.

Anyway, blathering a bit while I do a complete run of the award list routines to make sure that all works.

On other fronts, odd things happening with our parent corporation where I work. Don’t have a lot of detail, but it looks like they are finally settling some issues with the Department of Education, and my school may be sold to someone else. Hard to know if it is a good thing or not at this point, and frankly all I want to do is just go to work, and not have to worry about it. Bleh.

Dying Computers … argh

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So about a week ago, the primary (desktop) computer decided the hard drive was done.Spent a lot of time trying to revive it, but every time I boot up to Windows ChkDsk starts because it finds a problem. Not a good sign. I was able to get to Safe Mode, and back things up, but … so thinking on it, the computer is probably close to 5 years old, which seems to be the lifespan of most computers these days.

Spent most of last week stressing over it, but unable to get to Best Buy or anyplace to look at machines. Spent some time online and noted several that I was interested in, wrote down specs, etc. Oddly, HP (whom I have used for the last couple of desktops) does not sell them with an HD video adapter, which is weird. The monitor I bought some years ago has HD capability, but I’ve been using VGA. So one of my criteria was HDMI output. Asus and Acer, as well as Dell all put out machines with HDMI standard.

Then, I couldn’t get a new computer this last weekend because I was in Las Vegas for a Heraldic Symposium. So Sunday night I searched and found what I wanted, and asked Best Buy to have it delivered to the local store. SIX DAYS!! Are you kidding me? Sigh.

Anyway, not really happy, but I’ll muddle through. The one thing I’m glad of is that I’ve been backing things up … but still …

On other fronts: CJ finally got the one report for the SCA done, but now it’s the next one. She feels like she has two full-time jobs right now, and it’s wiping her out. Sigh. All in all, we’re both exhausted. We have to go to June Crown on Saturday, we planned on being there the full weekend, but she has a deployment for her paying job Friday evening, so hotel was cancelled. If the computer doesn’t come in before then, I will get it on Sunday and spend the day trying to get everything up and running.

A Little Catching Up …

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Just thought as it’s been a month since my last posting (well, obviously there’s not much demand for this stuff, it’s just me writing things for my own sake of sanity, I guess) that I ought to update a little …

This last couple of months have been quite difficult. Carolyn’s job has been rather insanely busy, with her having to work from home a lot so she can be up for early conference calls with London … sheesh. The pressure has been high, her boss has put a lot on her, which says a lot for her and her boss’s trust in her, but …

Worse, back in January, Carolyn took on the job of Exchequer in the SCA for the “West Kingdom” (N. California, Alaska, part of Nevada, and the “Far West” — Korea, Japan, etc.). The difficulty is that she took it on just in time for the “Domesday Report” — the annual report that helps the SCA maintain its non-profit status. The difficulty is a) all the local branch exchequers are volunteers and don’t know what they’re doing (no training); b) her predecessor didn’t do the job, had someone else doing the reports, and didn’t train anyone, INCLUDING CJ; c) the reports were all screwed up. She has spent the last nearly six months trying to get this under control. In the last month, as she was waiting for some reports so she could complete everything, word came down that if this wasn’t completed by a specific date, the Kingdom would go into abeyance, meaning no official events, etc. She has struggled to work directly with the SCA exchequer to get it under control — luckily since she’s working with them the Kingdom has not gone into abeyance. Pressure? Yep. Lots of it. She’s been working until midnight or later, getting up for her regular job at gawdawful early in the morning, and the stupid report is STILL not done. I’m ranting a bit here because there’s no other place I can say anything, since no one really reads this. It’s frustrating and part of me wants to strangle her predecessor and the person who did the reports before her. NO TRAINING, and she’s having to try to pull this together. Sucks, big time. She’s not having any fun, let’s put it that way. And I’m not having much fun, because she’s exhausted all the time. All she can talk about is this stupid report. I understand how important it is, but …

In the real world, there’s been a lot of noise about “rape culture”, which has been disheartening. It (all the noise, not “rape culture”) came about from some kid in San Diego whose parents knew he had issues (he’d been in therapy, etc.), wrote a 127 page (or something like that) manifesto about how women he refused him sex deserved to die, and other truly odd things, drove to the University he was going to, shot and killed six girls, and wounded 13 other people, and took his life. The whole thing has gone crazy. Now, I am not saying that this issue of “rape culture” doesn’t exist. — quite the opposite. What is appalling is how pervasive it is. I, like most men, had no idea just how bad this is. It’s unnerving. I personally could not envision ever forcing myself on anyone. It is tough to read about. I have tried to read various posts on Facebook and elsewhere about this. I have not chimed in on it, because others have said what I might want to say, only better, and I’d just put my foot in it, say something wrong, and …All I can really do is try to be the best person I can, and if I see anything that appears to be male->female bullying, etc., try to stop it.

Ah well. My job has been wearying, but mostly just because of the schedule. I’m working on Mondays and Wednesdays close to a 14 hour day, and about 6 hours a day on T/R. This averages out to the 40 hours a week, but then of course there’s the grading I do on Fridays, and all that. I’m not really complaining, just a bit of whining to get it off my chest. M/W I come home exhausted. My Fridays are often a bit of grading, and then I am done, so at least I have that (unless there are faculty meetings, I think I put in three hours on this last Friday doing that). So here I sit on Tuesday morning, not going to work until I need to because … I need to do something other than work sometimes. I am lucky to have a job that I generally like, and that I’m generally good at. I’m not the perfect teacher, but I strive and try to change how I do things, a bit at a time …

On other fronts, I have plans to revise the West Kingdom History website (coming back to the SCA) into a fully-functioning CMS, but one designed specifically for this purpose, which means all those pre-written ones (Wikimedia, etc.) are not really going to work. I have a fairly good, organic design that was created as the site grew. I want to maintain a good part of it. I started laying out a basic database design (not trying to do the main CMS parts, but to work with the site as it exists now — how to incorporate everything currently there and make it work for our purposes) and have a couple folk who volunteered to help, one of whom has written CMS’ before for business. This means he understands (I hope) some things that I don’t. I really need to spend some time learning PHP (programming language for the web), which I may try to start working on, on Fridays. We’ll see. The primary developer won’t be available until September-ish. That’s okay, it’s not like I don’t have projects to keep me busy.

Speaking of projects to keep me busy … I got drafted earlier this year to work on something for the SCA’s 50th anniversary, the History of the West Kingdom (odd, eh? I’ve been doing that for a long time). This is for a booklet about the SCA to be given to attendees at this event in a couple of years. I started it, but have stalled out. I need to get back into the groove on that. I have lots of ideas, but I think I overwhelmed myself or something …

Anyway … cats: Zootie now has hyperthyroid on top of everything else. His brother just has hyperthyroid. The odd thing is Zootie is the calm cat, and despite all his health issues is sweet and delightful as ever. I would be surprised if either of them are around this time next year, though. They’re both 17 years old, and have enough issues …Just a quick catalog of Zootie’s health issues:

  • Diabetes (gets two shots a day for this with feline insulin)
  • Heart disease (gets one pill twice a day — a diuretic to keep fluids from filling his lungs)
  • Arthritis in his spine (nothing to be done there, but he walks oddly sometimes because of it, I am assuming he’s in pain but he is so damn stoic …)
  • Probable cancer in his lungs (nothing to be done there either …)
  • Hyperthyroid

The doctor suggested a new med for the hyperthyroid, but I am at the point now that more meds for Zootie is silly. It’s hard enough getting him to do the meds now. He is supposed to be taking something for the heart disease to lessen the symptoms, but the pill tastes/smells bad to him and he refuses it. We don’t want to force it (quality of life issues).

That’s plenty for now, I think. At least I can feel like I’ve updated this a bit. I want to end with a note that I realize despite whining and whinging in this post, life is overall pretty good. There are good things happening, some of our friends have had very positive things in their lives. Our friends Katherine and Michael finally got married after many struggles with their lives (not gonna try to go into that here) and we were and are very happy for them! So, things aren’t all bad, really. I try to find humor in things where I can, which helps. And life trundles on. Maybe the next post will be more positive …