Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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May 2003
May 27 2003
Hi ho hi ho it's off to Fry's I go.
Five trips to Fry's in four days - a new personal best. As it turned out, the memory was perfectly okay, as is the motherboard. The problem is Win98 has trouble with memory addressing at 512MB. There are workarounds that other people have used successfully, but not me. My options were to step up my OS to XP or Win2K or step back my memory to 256MB. I went with the more expedient and less expensive option: less memory.

I lie. I'm not really reading those books on the left. I've been sick. I can't concentrate on anything serious. Instead I've been reading P.G. Wodehouse. The nice thing about his books is they are basically so forgettable, that rereading is a new experience.

The government lies. The media lies. They all lie. But you knew that already. According to a report by the BBC, the U.S. military both exagerrated the Pvt. Jessica Lynch's condition and staged her "rescue" from an Iraqi hospital. Naturally, the Pentagon calls the report "ridiculous" and attributes misinformation to speculative media reporting.

May 25 2003
George Washington's axe.
In some display case in some little historical museum rests George Washington's axe. The handle has been changed three times and the head twice, but it's still George Washington's axe.

That's the situation with my computer. E and I braved the trip to Fry's Electronics this weekend. After a few conversations with sales reps, we decided what we needed was new motherboard / processor / memory. That was yesterday. Today we went back for a case in which the motherboard would fit and an extra cable. After several hours of careful assembly, stress, consternation and pouting, I now have a working computer. It was my idea to daisy chain the six (yeah, six) case fans. E figured out that | not O means on. I never remember that. Now we have to go back to Fry's tomorrow to replace memory. The DIMM chip (more like a strip) is giving memory errors.

The new system: 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 chip on a Soyo Dragon Lite motherboard. 350W power supply. 512MB RAM. The speed improvement is noticeable.

Caveat PayPal user. I got the following e-mail twice. I have reported it to PayPal.

Dear PayPal Customer

This e-mail is the notification of recent innovations taken by PayPal to detect inactive customers and non-functioning mailboxes.

The inactive customers are subject to restriction and removal in the next 3 months.

Please confirm your email address and and Credit Card info number by logging in to your PayPal account using the form below:

Email Address: ________________________________
Password: ________________________________
Full Name #: ________________________________
Credit Card #: ________________________________
Exp.Date(mm/yyyy) #: ________________________________
ATM PIN (For Bank Verification) #: ________________________________

This notification expires May 31, 2003

Thanks for using PayPal!

Oh they'll thank you, all right, for being the poor schmoe who would fall for this blatant and reprehensible scam. Legitimate PayPal communications never ask for your password, much less sensitive financial information. They don't even use your credit card or ATM PIN.

May 23 2003
I don't wanna.
I don't wanna go to work. I don't wanna work at home. I don't wanna go to physical therapy. I definitely don't wanna figure out what the freak is wrong with my computer.

I have never been this sick this long with what is supposed be some stupid rhinovirus. It is moving into my lungs. The sinus congestion is somewhat relieved but now my throat is inflamed.

Still I have to go in to work. As a freelancer I have to take it where I can get it. Time and usability testing waits for no man. Luckily we have a three-day weekend during which I intend to do nothing ... except write up the results of usability testing, work on a logo, take the cat to the vet, prepare for a client meeting and possibly purchase and install a new video card for the 'puter.

I don't wanna.

May 19 2003
The song is ended but the melody lingers on.
I thought I was done with this cold weeks ago, but it just won't go away. I've had persistent stuffiness and scratchy throat. Now it's worse than before. The left side of my face feels like it's packed with wet cotton. My mouth is dry from breathing and I keep trying to swallow what feels like a small South American tree frog in my throat.

E has it even worse. Sometimes I think he's going to start coughing up chunks of lung. Yet he still goes to work when other people are calling in sick.

May 18 2003
Arsenic and old lace*.
If you have the good fortune to visit that idyllic corner of Oregon that is my hometown of Astoria, I recommend a visit to Shallon Winery. Winemaker Paul van der Veldt will give you a taste of each novelty fruit and whey wine he has available. That's right, whey as in Little Miss Muffet. Paul is the first winemaker to successfully make wine with whey. Most of his wines are sweet, appropriate as dessert wines; he also offers Evergreen Blackberry wine, which compares favorably to an oaky Cabernet Sauvignon, and Elderberry wine, to which many people ascribe medicinal properties. I bought a bottle of blackberry and two of elderberry (they were small). The elderberry is nearly inky black.

I've been digging about in the garden. I bought a few perennials today, stuck them into the ground, and interred the remainder of our gladiolus corms. The garden is such a mishmash. I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm just too lazy to plan it out.

*Bonus points if you can identify the reference.

May 13 2003
Sugar buzz.
Sugar is a bad thing for me, I've decided. I went on a sugar bender this weekend. I bought a rice krispie bar from Noah's Bagels because the counter boy said it was made fresh, just like Grandma used to make. It was just like Grandma used to make, but Grandma cut hers into smaller squares. I also made it through an entire tub of merinque cookies. Sure they're mostly air but the rest is practically pure sugar.

This morning I picked up a box of Cap'n Crunch. It was on sale. There's a good reason Mom says to not go shopping when you're hungry and this is it. I didn't even wait until I got into the car before tearing into the box.

Now I'm floating through the day without direction or focus. Design a logo or weed the garden? Take a shower? Can't do that before I weed the garden. But I really need to get started on that logo. Yeah and update my portfolio with a couple more web sites. Need to contact a couple clients, call people back. But can't do that if I'm out in the garden.

May 12 2003
We have liftoff.
IrisesThe 2003 issue of Where's My Rocket Car is here! It's a little self-published 'zine put together by Nerdygirl and her many friends. I'm particularly proud of this one because I did the graphic design. Matisse was my inspiration, as our working theme was Creativity.

My fingers are all over the keyboard today. Last week I spent a couple days doing print production on a Mac. Now I want to press CMD + C, and it's not there. I end up hitting the ALT key instead with bizarre results.

We took irises to E's mother on Sunday. What did you do for your mother?

May 10 2003
1984 wasn't 1984. 2004 will be.
You do not have the right to remain silent.
You do not have the right to an attorney.
Anything you say will be distorted out of all proportion.


May 5 2003
Pledge now. Pledge for life.
Once again, it is pledge week and I defend my devotion to OPB radio by saying it beats hearing five times an hour that I have a friend in the diamond business.

One reason listeners become inured to repeated pledge pleas is that every pledge drive is portrayed as the most critical ever. How can each pledge drive be even more desperate than the last? Can funding really be getting worse?

Yes, my friend, it can and it is. This morning's Oregonian featured the front page headline State considers pulling the plug on aid to OPB. Our state is in a desperate situation. We are number one in unemployment and hunger in the nation. If the state pulls funding from OPB, currently only 6% of OPB's annual budget, Oregon will be the only state in the nation that does not support public broadcasting. To say Oregon will be the Mississippi of the West is an insult to Mississippi.

If you enjoy public broadcasting, help support it. Now, more than ever, your support is needed.


May 2 2003
Mouth breather.
Air is at a premium right now. I feel like I'm drinking air, rather than breathing it. I am host to a congenial colony of common cold virus. The worst of it is over, thankfully.

We will never be rid of the common cold. We have achieved a symbiotic balance between host and virus. A virus is a living entity without personality. I find the anthropomorphation of germs amusing. Germs don't care about you. Their goal is not to make you sick or kill you. Their goal is identical to that of all living entities: to reproduce. In fact, it is in a bacteria's or virus' best interest to keep you alive and mobile while it replicates, until it can jump to another host. Those diseases that kill us haven't achieved the live and let live relationship with humans that the common cold has.

If you find this subject fascinating, as I do, I recommend Plagues and Peoples by William H. McNeill.

The more I think about it, the more I think my problem with the computer lies in the video card. I haven't found anyone who has the same problem, but I have found descriptions of similar problems that were traced to the video card. Apparently chips and stuff can come loose. Damn. I thought computer equipment was supposed to last forever and never break.

May 1 2003
Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!
Right now I wouldn't mind a nice set of chains and the regular paycheck that goes along with that.

At least I've got plenty of time to futz with the 'puter. I think I've got everything back in order. Although it didn't solve my mysterious lockup/black screen problem, it is nice to know I can reformat and reconstruct my hard drive without losing much. I back up obsessively. Now I just have to remember that all files restored from CD are locked; if I want to edit them I have to unlock them.