Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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April 2002
April 28 2002
All the pretty little bruises.
Sifu has been ramping up the intensity in class, lately. I've got bruises on top of bruises, before the first set can heal. My left knee has been bothering me a bit lately, too. I must be getting close to 40.

April 23 2002
An open letter to a would-be employer.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I would like to apply for the position you advertised in the Sunday Oregonian, April 21, 2002. I really would. But you did not list the name of your company, only 16055 SW Walker Road, Beaverton OR 97006.

I like to think of myself as a clever person, with all the resources of the Internet at my command. So I typed your address into Google. This is what I got. Multiple businesses, each with its own suite number.

So who are you? Tualatin Hills Swim Club? Anim-X? A satellite office of the American Cast Iron Pipe Company? To whom am I applying? Animal Nannies?

Suppose I were to send my resume and references to 16055 SW Walker Road as you say in your ad. What confidence can I have that it will be delivered to the correct suite?

That, would-be employer, is why I am not applying for your job. I hope you understand.

April 22 2002
Drinking and grocery shopping don't mix.
Atwaters, at the top of the Big Pink, is long gone. We used to enjoy an afternoon drink up there, with the spectacular view of the city from 30 stories up. A new restaurant and bar, catering to a younger hipper crowd, has opened in the old Atwaters space: Portland City Grill. So E and I checked it out Sunday evening, taking advantage of their cheap appetizers. Gorgeous new space, very dark, lots of slate and open beams. The restaurant and bar has been totally rearranged to take best advantage of the picture windows looking out over downtown Portland.

We had a couple drinks and a few appetizers. Yummy! Strong Asian influence on the menu. Then we went grocery shopping. Take my advice, don't drink and shop. I came back with an extra bag of cat food, Froot Loops and Craisins.

April 20 2002
Computers are Evil III - Revenge of the Jedi
Bonus points if you remember that the original title of the third Star Wars movie was Revenge of the Jedi.

About a week after I last installed Win98, I began having problems with my computer hanging on startup. I thought I had it fixed - several times - but it never stayed fixed. I finally gave up. This morning I formatted my hard drive and reinstalled Win98. It took a few tries to get it right, but it went pretty well. I even partitioned extra hard drive space so I can have multiple versions of IE for testing purposes.

Now it's just the tedious work of reinstalling all my programs. And figuring out why the printer won't work. And keeping my fingers crossed.

Apparently it helps the printer if it is set to the correct printer port.

April 17 2002
What the hail?
It's April, it's Oregon, it's hailing. 'Nuff said.

What's more repugnant than Public Displays of Affection? Public Displays of Genitalia. The other day as I was driving E into work, we caught sight of a red Dodge Ram 4x4 with what appeared to be a pair of testicles hanging from its undercarriage. If you don't have the real thing, I suppose you've got to compensate somehow. I expect those were an after-market addition.

April 14 2002
Tiptoe through the tulips. Tulips in bloom. Our tulips are blooming and aren't they gorgeous. Ignore the weeds - I am.

Went to a party last night at the home of KimmieS and JT. Lemon Drop they called it, and we drank them. Woohoo! We partied like it was 1979. We did the Hustle:

Forward two three four. Back two three four. Right two three four. Left two three four. Kick ball-change kick ball-change kick ball-change kick ball-change. Step step back back step back slide uh!

April 12 2002
My latest obsession.
I've become almost obsessed with a very silly game called Bejeweled from Popcap Games. It's basically a pattern-recognition game. You're presented with an 8x8 grid of gems of various colors and shapes. The object is to line up at least three identical gems in a row by switching two adjacent gems. When the gems line up, they disappear and the line(s) above them drop down. I even have it for the Palm. Just one more game, that's all I'm going to play.

April 10 2002
Today I am a goddess.
I am so on today. I scored my first auction win on eBay, a copy of Windows 98 SE. I was forced up to my maximum bid, true, but I made damned sure that in previous auctions everyone was going to pay more than me.

And I caught a friend who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) in a blatant urban legend deception deception. He he he. To approximately quote:

I've been telling this story for five years and you're the first person who's called me on it.

April 8 2002
Computers are evil II.
What is it with me and computers lately? I turn on my computer and it decides there is no mouse. Nice try Neo, but this ain't The Matrix. Then it won't start up at all. Well, it starts part of the way, then hangs. Nothing to do but push buttons randomly; I hit upon the right combination to trick it into starting up. That's enough to get me web access to Microsoft's Knowledge Base, which ain't half bad for solving problems. I followed the instructions for troubleshooting and amazingly I got the computer to work. And it only took a day and half. Good thing I don't have a real job.

Of course, the real test will be whether it starts up again tomorrow.

April 7 2002
Computers are evil and they lie.
We went to the coast this weekend and visited Aunt Vi and her new hand-me-down computer. It's got a first generation Pentium chip,has 32MB RAM, and is running Win95 with a 14.4K Cardinal Data Modem installed. Ouch. We hooked up her printer to her computer, so that works.

I wanted to do a Good Deed for my auntie, so we zipped out to Fred Meyer and dropped $30 for a 56k modem. Plug and play, right? Wrong. Spent four hours trying to install and configure the damned thing. I tried everything I could think of. The computer could "see" the modem, but not communicate with it. Thank heavens for Fred Meyer's no hassle return policy.

April 5 2002
So you want to be a baggage screener.
Hey hotshot, think you can do a better job at catching potential terrorists trying to smuggle their implements of death in their carry-ons? Prove it. Go to this article on and click "Can you spot the threats." You have to listen to a lame-o intro first, but then you get to play baggage screener. I was really bad at it and I annoyed people.

April 4 2002
Tiny bubble burst.
We bought the computer from Tiny (the Dell of Britain) last year. I couldn't remember the URL for the Tiny USA site, so I typed "Tiny computer company" into Google. This was first in the search results.

I have learned my lesson. E was right. I won't pay for the extended warranty again.

April 3 2002
April Fooltastic Funtasmagoria. (dreadfully long)
Oh my heavens I've been having the most wonderful fun.

On Monday April 1 my hard drive played the bestest prank on me - it crashed and never came back. Disk error: error writing to disk. I figure there's no time like the present to give up on Windows ME and install Windows 98. So I tried to reformat the drive. Error writing file allocation tables: format terminated.


Skinned a knuckle pulling the old hard drive, then off to Fry's for a new 40GB hard drive. Installed and formatted, no problem. I figure if I can change the spark plugs on a '66 Chrysler New Yorker, a hard drive install should be a snap. Except now I can't install Win98 off the CD-ROM. I have a freshly formatted drive and no OS.


Luckily, brother-in-law Gordon is a hero and installs Win98 for me: he just popped the CD into the DVD drive. Huh. Who woulda thunk it. Now all I have to do is install all my hardware drivers that I can't figure out where they are and how to install.


Enter hero number two, friend Bill (who runs a
small-medium business web hosting service and is top notch on customer service). Bill took an evening to install and configure my drivers. Turns out I had them on disk all along. Big relief. Only a few problems remain: web downloads are excruciating and the printer just isn't there.

Things are looking up.

Today I solved the last two problems. I reinstalled my DSL modem & software, this time reading the instructions and doing everything in the proscribed order. I got the printer working by switching the USB port (go figure). I figured out that I couldn't download and overwrite my web site files because the ones copied from backup CD were "read only" (easily remedied).

Still don't have all my software installed, but things are starting to be right in the world.

Good news: I back-up frequently.
Bad news: My most recent back-up was two weeks old.
Good news: I was gone for most of that time.
Bad news: I lost all my Outlook e-mail and addresses.
Good news: Most addresses I have on my Palm.
Bad news: I hardly ate, I was so stressed.
Good news: I lost two pounds.
Bad news: Completely lost all MYOB accounting data.
Good news: Not much activity and I have all my receipts and receivables written down.
Good news: Computer is still under 3-year extended warranty.
Bad news: I forgot I had 3-year extended warranty.
Good news: I now know a heck of a lot more about how to set up a PC.