POWr Countdown Timer

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 5 comments

Do-it-yourself camper

Lordy, my cellphone camera bites. But I refuse to be shackled to Stinkular for two more years. Anyway...

Sunday, August 27, 2006 1 comment

Zinged!

Standing outside at the in-laws’ this evening, after eating watermelon: Mrs. Fetched, Daughter Dearest, me, and Mrs. Fetched’s mom. And a bunch of half-grown herd dogs, putting their cold noses on bare legs and so forth.

After one dog nosed Mrs. Fetched, she jumped and complained. Daughter Dearest said, “Did he stick his nose up your butt too?”

“No.”

Then the mother-in-law chimed in: “He was just smelling your ‘cats’.”

I was the last one to get the joke. Daughter Dearest was shocked that she said it, but I’ve been around them long enough to know both of them will zing you when they feel like it.

Friday, August 25, 2006 5 comments

Shorties

A few bits and bobs that don’t merit their own posts…

***


A guy at an OEM company we’re dealing with at work goes by the name of “Raining Cao.” I guess that’s not as bad as Wayne King (say it out loud).

***


Q. Why are northern nudist camps better than southern nudist camps?
A. It's colder.

***


Is Blogger ever going to fix the blog search? You’d think at a site owned by Google, that would be the last thing to break. But it hasn’t worked for at least a week. I think it broke about the same time they rolled out the new “Blogger beta” that has had a somewhat spotty record to date. Homeless Guy was unable to post for several days; he thinks he lost 200 readers to the glitch. I guess it’s fortunate for me that I didn’t get invited to try out the beta, given how search is(n’t) working.

***


Lobster really seems to have gotten it. He was talking to Mrs. Fetched last week and saying things like, “I was an idiot. Why didn’t I finish school?”

***


Mrs. Fetched’s video business has started picking up again. A local performance boating place is having her clean up some video they shot, and we’re doing taping for a park/rec league football team. “My” “new” camera perches on my monopod like it was made to work the sidelines. I made some mistakes last week, probably because it was the first time in nearly two years that I’ve done sideline camera work, and had an unfamiliar camera to boot. Mrs. Fetched gets a wider view from the sound booth… I’ll have to see if she can get a still of my backside down on the sidelines or something.

***


The Boy is doing sheetrock work now. I have to get him up at 6 a.m., but at least he gets moving with a minimum of hassle. The only friction right now is from band practice; he does this twice a week during the week and gets home around midnight. At least he’s getting some money here and there; he should soon be able to get his car fixed. He needs to get himself an alarm clock that will Do The Job though… when he gets his own place, I’m not coming over there to get him up every morning.

***


Hello, Ernesto. I was starting to wonder if we would (thankfully) have a dud of a hurricane season. All it takes is one, though, in the wrong place… and as warm as the Gulf is, it’s definitely the wrong place. Gas prices have been dropping for the last week or so (I saw $2.69 on the way home), but not even election-year price manipulation is going to overcome the panic that will ensue when people hear “hurricane in the Gulf.” I suspect prices will turn back around by the middle of next week, unless Ernesto fizzles out. Pray it happens, not for the gas prices but for everyone who lives along the Gulf.

***


Off to bed. I have a very non-relaxing Saturday to look “forward” to.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 2 comments

The Rise of the Creator-Consumer, Part IV

Continued from Part III
(start at Part I)

IV. The Passives (reprise)


“Babe?”

“Yeah?”

“Did you ever think things would be… I don’t know… different?”

She looks up from her book, slightly concerned. “Different how?” she asks guardedly.

“I don’t know,” he sighs, silencing the voice of his god with the Mute button. “I mean, we have all this shit, or at least we’re making payments on it. But we sit here most evenings, we don’t really have a clue about what our kids are doing… and did you have any dreams when you were younger?”

Her mouth tightens involuntarily for a moment, caught between annoyance and amusement. It’s finally happened, she thought, he’s having his mid-life crisis. Aloud, she says, “Sure. Didn’t you?” Let him talk it out.

“Yeah,” he laughs nervously. “Kyle kind of reminded me. When I was his age, I wanted a Super-8 movie camera. I was going to interview a ghost in a haunted house… make my own movie, like Kyle and his friends. But I couldn’t afford it, and neither could my parents.

“What about you?”

Trapped! he had opened up, now it’s her turn. “Well…” she waves her book. “I wanted to be a reporter, an investigative reporter. I guess I’d have been a cross between Lois Lane and Woodward and Bernstein. But we couldn’t afford J-school —”

“J-school?”

“Journalism school. I got a scholarship for Annenberg, in California, but it wasn’t enough. I went to vo-tech, and it was good, but… well, I started a mystery novel about an investigative reporter, but never finished it. It probably wouldn’t have gotten published anyway.”

“Hey, you never know. You can prob’ly write better stuff than that,” he gestures dismissively at her paperback.

“This book won an award,” she sniffs. “I didn’t even try to get mine published.”

“Do you still have it?”

“I don’t know. And I’m not sure why we’re even having this conversation.”

He laughs. “You say we don’t talk enough all the time; now we’re talking and you don’t know why.”

She opens her mouth to retort, then stops. “So what brought this on?”

“I guess it was Kyle and his movie-making buddies. He’s supposed to be home in a little bit. Hey, what do you say we walk down to the Thurmans’ and see what they’re up to? That’s where he is.”

She looks at him for a moment. “You know, I don’t remember the last time we went out for a walk. It might be nice.”

To be continued…

Monday, August 21, 2006 2 comments

Making something of bleeps and boops

Sometimes, following links takes you to some odd places.

This particular oddity odyssey started with a MacDevCenter article, which led O’ReillyNet, and from there to an article on BoingBoing.

Near the bottom are two links to audio files. The first is a short, silly thing made of System 7 MacOS beeps over a funky beat; the second is a complete song whose soundtrack seems to be made up entirely of Nintendo snippets and MacOS beeps, plus the MacOS startup chime. The strangest thing about it is that it works.

Go have a listen and be amazed, amused, or disgusted.

Sunday, August 20, 2006 4 comments

He’s back!

No, not The Boy, although he was gone for a couple of days. I’m talking about this guy:


There’s a lot of weird bugs in the world, but to me the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth stands out as one of the weirdest.

The butterfly bushes have been a little scraggly this year, up to the last week or so when they finally got the idea. We have to cut them back pretty severely each year to keep them from taking over the manor grounds.

Friday, August 18, 2006 No comments

When You Rule the Tools

About a week ago, I complained about our tendency as tech writers to become slaves to our tools. Tonight I provide a counter-example — what becomes possible when you, the technical writer, is in charge of the tools.

At work, we’re building a box with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and routing. Since that’s a fairly well-explored theme, we contracted a company in Taiwan to supply the Wi-Fi router. Like most routers for home networks, this one provides a web-based interface to configure the box, with links to context-sensitive help and a global glossary. As it turned out, the help that they furnished us was already owned (copyrighted) by another company. Since I work under the same department as the people driving this particular product, they brought me a working prototype and asked me to rewrite the help.

I’d seen an earlier prototype a few months back, so I already knew what was there. This time, though, I hit “View Source” in the browser — and was presented with a mishmash of HTML and <script> tags. Digging a little deeper, I realized that every single string in the web interface was being written by ECMAScript (the polite name for JavaScript hockkkk, ptui aka JavaSchit). The strings were stored as variables in files called language.js and langcont.js. The names explained the method to their madness: translating the interface requires changing only two files instead of 30.

Looking at the text itself, I was less than thrilled — we make stuff for cable companies; the help text talked about DSL and even ISDN, but not cable — and I had some better descriptions for other terms. The bolded term was run into the rest of the paragraph instead of broken out into a glossary-style list. I needed to add some cable-centric terms and remove the DSL- and ISDN-centric stuff.

So I fired up a text editor and got to work. It took all of five minutes for me to realize that I was going about it the wrong way. The string variables look like this:
h3='<b>Term</b> The definition…';

So if I wanted to add a new definition in between two existing ones, I’d have to either renumber everything following or create variables like h3_5 in between. Meanwhile, there was a corresponding <script> call in help.html:
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">dw(h3);</script>

To turn down the bloat a little, they had created dw as an alias for document.write. But the thing was, for every term I inserted or deleted in language.js, I’d have to make a corresponding fix in html.help. Since this is tedious, repetitive, kind of stuff — and I’m lazy — I decided to let the computer do the work for me. With a few global search and replace runs, I turned my text into HTML and then banged out a couple of scripts to transform it into the format needed by each file. It took an hour or so to get the scripts working, but I’d still be pounding on it if I had to do it by hand.

This is the kind of thing that you can’t do, or at least do easily, in Microsoft Weird or even FrameMaker. Even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be nearly as efficient. Sometimes, you even have to make tools to do a custom job on the spot. But when you rule the tools, the tools do the work for you so you can engage in some good old guilt-free slacking.

Disaster Averted

Shortly after getting home from work on Wednesday, Mrs. Fetched told me a tale of… “whoa.”

A while back, some friends of ours moved out of a trailer and gave us their large-ish propane tank so we could replace the ones we were renting. (For those of you who don’t have one of these, most people rent their tank and are locked into a single supplier. If you own your own tank, you can get propane from the low bidder.) Wednesday was the day when the incumbent came to cart off their tanks and install ours. They’re happy to do this... for a price, of course.

In this case, the price included three or four hours of labor. The regulator on our tank was shot, and had to be replaced. Then there was the minor detail of the old system being two small tanks ganged together; that gave them some grief too. The real fun started when they did the leak test... and found (and fixed) two leaks. Under the house. Next to the furnace.

Mrs. Fetched told me all that to complain about the $420 bill. “We should have just paid the $51 tank rental.”

“Um,” I replied, “Not that I’m all that fond of this place, but I would prefer it didn’t catch fire some night in October.”

“It wouldn’t catch fire, it would probably blow up.”

All the more reason to not worry about the $420… especially since the furnace is under the downstairs bedrooms. Not that I care so much about the house, but I would prefer not to have to escape in the middle of the night and try to remember grabbing my wife, kids, M.A.E., and laptop on the way out.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6 comments

Whither Lobster?

The last time we saw Lobster in this chronicle, back in May, he had: no wheels (lost his truck to Big V); not much education; no permanent abode; and knocked up his girlfriend. I originally put “worst of all” in the latter item, but that seemed to give him the Attitude Adjustment that he sorely and truly needed.

Having a kid on the way seemed to give Lobster a focus. At first, he was quite happy contemplating supporting a family on welfare and his meager KFC earnings. But as he began to reflect on his situation (a miracle! in itself), he made peace with his parents (another miracle) and then moved back in with them (you could have knocked me over with a feather at this point).

The miracles just kept a-comin’ — he started working toward getting his GED (his reading level is atrocious though), got a job at the new Wal-Mart while continuing at the KFC, and (best of all) his pregnant girlfriend dumped him for another guy. So in less than three months, he has completely turned his life around… and life has given him a clean slate. I have no idea whether he’s managed to get a set of replacement wheels, but he lives less than five miles from both KFC and Wal-Mart now — he could ride a bicycle and save a potload on gas, insurance, and maintenance. Some habits, however, are a little more ingrained than others. I suspect he either gets rides from his parents or has bought a beater.

First M.A.E., now Lobster. I can only hope The Boy soon gets a similar attitude adjustment (minus the knocked-up girlfriend, of course).

Sunday, August 13, 2006 2 comments

Squiffed

I poured my self a generous helping of rum over crushed ice, and added enough grapefruit juice to fill the glass. But I’m not wasted as long as I can type typographic quotes/apostrophes & close my open HTML tags. :-P

Anyway, apologies in advance for anything overly silly I type in people’s comments tonight.

The Boy, by the numbers

[This list is now obsolete. Please refer to the current list.]

To make this blog easier to write (and read), I’m considering using a series of codes to describe The Boy’s latest misadventure… something like this:
  • TB01: Left home (again)

  • TB02: Came home (again)

  • TB03: Said he’d be home, stayed out, hasn’t returned

  • TB04: Had a tantrum, broke something

  • TB05: Caught in a lie, insisting on his version of things

  • TB06: Talks about getting a job, no follow-through

  • TB07: Talks about getting a GED, no follow-through

  • TB08: His band has been signed (again)

  • TB09: Blames everyone else for his problems

You get the idea. I could just use a subject of, say, “TB04” and I wouldn’t have to type anything unless he threw multiple errors like Friday (TB04, TB05, TB06, TB07, TB09). He hasn’t been doing a very good job of managing his diabetes as of late (his A1C is 10, in the Very Bad range), and that doesn’t help — he goes completely off the rails when his glucose gets really high. And so we have one less phone than we did Thursday.

He now has less than two weeks left to clean up his act, before his court appearance. He now acknowledges drinking heavily and smoking various substances, shows no regret but says he quit drinking after a two-week binge (“I decided that was stupid”). His lip ring is gone, but the earrings are still installed and his hair won’t exactly impress a judge. He still has his head in an alternate universe, where looks don’t count for anything when going to court or job interviews. The hard part is that I agree with him partly — appearances shouldn’t make a difference — but as I’ve been telling him repeatedly, he has to deal with how things are instead of how they should be. The other minor detail is, as a high-school dropout, the facts beyond the appearance makes the job hunt difficult.

“I don’t want to work in a restaurant, or a gas station, or Kroger, or anything like that.” Unfortunately, without a diploma, that’s about all that’s open to him at this point. I think I got through to him on one point: he’s gone backwards in a big way this summer. He started out with a job, a working car, and a cell phone; now he has a non-working car, no job, and no phone. I didn’t even mention his A1C going up three points, but that’s as much a part of it as anything else.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 2 comments

Cool, man

I don’t think it broke 75 here today — it has been overcast all day, except when it was pouring down rain. It was kind of nice to get a day here like what we had last weekend in the NC mountains, even if I did get rained on some.

I just finished adjusting the valves on my motorcycle (two were seriously loose and a third was somewhat loose) and putting it back together, so it’s ready for when the rain clears out (which it seems to have done already). Looks like it will be in the 80s all week, with only small chances for rain, so I’m looking forward to enjoying my commute.

Professionalism, Rants, and Support

Techcommdood related a flare-up over Flare on techwr-l, a mailing list strictly dedicated to work-related communication by and for technical writers. He went on to say,
All facts removed, this was an inappropriate post. Why? Well, it offered little information and, well, it was a classic rant. You have to ask yourself, "What value did this add to the community?"

One word: none.

I don’t know about that. It pointed out some potentially serious problems with Flare, a fairly new help authoring tool (HAT) that’s trying to dethrone RoboHelp. MadCap (the company that produces Flare) stepped up and offered to work with the ranter to fix the problems, so maybe there’s a happy ending to come. Whatever: being a Mac user, neither MadCap nor Adobe (RoboHelp’s current owner) gives much of a rip about what I want or need.

Dood’s point was to decry the unprofessionalism of ranting on a public forum, whether directly or through an intermediary (as in this case) — of course, there’s Techcomm, a forum for tech writers that’s meant to be 95% rants and silly jokes, but that doesn’t really count. But there’s several kinds of unprofessionalism on display here, and they can all be seen in the ranter’s rhetorical question (caps lock removed): “Why should I pay $700 for a product and then spend my time doing workarounds to get it to do what it should do automatically?”

First, the ranter didn’t mention whether MadCap had tried to fix the problems before the rant, or if they were even aware of the problem. If you’re going to spend $700 for a piece of software, you should ask for help and expect to get it… and if you’re charging $700 for that software, you should a) make something that doesn’t break; and b) make sure your customers don’t get to the point of ranting about you in public. (The latter is often something that small companies like MadCap actually do better than larger ones like Adobe.)

The larger unprofessionalism is depending on some pretty $700 piece of software chrome to do your work for you. Face it, fellow tech writers, HTML (or even XML) is not rocket science. We complain about those icky tags, then we wonder why we get replaced by “technical writers” with a certificate education, at half the salary. Then there’s the whole issue of trusting your work to a monolithic database, which destroys everything when it gets corrupted (e.g. the late, unlamented ForeHelp), or any other software that doesn’t allow you to easily extract your work out of it (Word).

I’m not saying that we should be building help systems by hand — but we should certainly be willing to get involved at a much lower level. HTML-based help, after all, is simply a wrapper around a series of HTML (and graphic) files that provides (usually JavaScript-based) niceties like search and context. You provide table of contents and index files — and the content, of course — and that’s it. You don’t have to work directly with HTML — but you should be able to use what your authoring tool gives you to produce HTML, then be able to clean it up and prepare it for use with the help system. Yes, it takes a little time, but so does importing stuff into a dedicated HAT and fiddling with your content there.

Probably the most trouble-free help-building system I’ve seen to date is Mif2Go with FrameMaker to produce OmniHelp, an open-source help viewer. I’ve also used groff to produce HTML that works well with OmniHelp — everything can be modified to work the way you want it to, with no $700 “license fee” involved. Why are we not taking more advantage of set-ups like this?

It’s time to take control of our operating environments and to start living up to the title, technical writer. We’ve let the word become little more than a way to distinguish what we do from journalists and fiction writers for too long now, to our detriment.

FARfetched Faith Healing

I got a new power brick for my iBook the other day, and the new battery should be shipped as soon as I resolve a credit card issue with the vendor. All the fun I’ve been having with my computers lately makes this an appropriate time to tell this story.

My first encounter with a Mac was 1985, when we replaced our VT100-clone terminals (connected to a VAX) with “Fat Macs.” Those were the ones with a whopping 512K of RAM, a seemingly-extravagent amount of memory for those times. The trend of the time was decentralization — throwing off the tyranny of IT (which was “MIS” in those days) and taking care of our own needs. I’ll write more about our motivations, and the trade-offs we accepted, some other time.

As I’ve said in the past, my relationship with the Mac was not exactly love at first sight — while I loved having “my own computer,” I chafed at its limitations and propensity to crash. But it was new territory, and I forged ahead to see what it could do. Sometimes, being a day ahead can make all the difference between the “Mac Guru” and the befuddled co-worker.

I’m not sure when the spooky stuff started. First, I would figure out a pattern of non-intuitive clicks and keystrokes that would untangle a snarled program — normal enough for a button-pusher. But then, problems would go away as soon as I touched the keyboard. Then it started happening when I talked to the “owner” on the phone. But the craziest thing was when people told me they could get things working right by threatening to call me!

I’m a fairly rational guy, for being a Christian. I believe that there is an order to things, even to the supernatural — but I also believe we haven’t quite nailed down the natural order, and don’t have a clue about the supernatural. So I’ll admit that it made me a little uncomfortable when touching a computer, or someone invoking my name over it, would make it start working right. But time went on and I found other work, at a place where IT didn’t need a faith-healer, and it became a joke of sorts.

So a few years back, the people that eventually became our renters asked me to check out their daughter’s computer. It was an early Pentium-based Aptiva, with “soft” power (like many computers nowadays, it can be turned on or off by software). So I came by, and the daughter showed me the computer. Sure enough, it wouldn’t power on. I disconnected everything and pulled the cover off, thinking I might find a blown fuse. Not finding one, I told the kid, “Sometimes you can just lay hands on the motherboard” — doing so — “and say, ‘BE HEALED!’” She laughed. Then I plugged everything in, hit the power button, and it started right up.

“You weren’t kidding!” she gasped. She was almost as surprised as I was. (Most likely, unplugging the power allowed the startup circuitry to reset, and I told her that.)

What allows me to laugh it all off — even when I recently learned that people still use my name to make their computers straighten up — is that it doesn’t seem to work on my own gear. Then again, when I have a problem, it tends to be a big one — often requiring a new power supply, or rebuilding the hard drive. Maybe it’s a case of the shoemaker’s children going barefoot. Or maybe God is just reminding me that I’m really not all that.

Friday, August 11, 2006 No comments

The Rise of the Creator-Consumer, Part III

Continued from Part II
(start at Part I)

“If he tries to bring it in the bathroom while I’m taking a shower,” his wife growls, “I’ll kill him and break that camera.”

“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” he reassures her. “They’re making some sci-fi flick, I think.”

She sighs. “At least it gets him out of the house. Mary’s up in her room, just like every night. Who knows what she’s doing on that laptop…”

III. The Author


“So will we live happily ever after, Merlynn?” Katera laughed.

The sorceress shrugged, something Katera had never seen Merlynn do before. “That’s a question no wizard can answer,” she laughed in turn, “but you can. You can choose to be happy or not. There are those who have little more than their lives, who praise the gods for each day of life; and some who have conquered entire kingdoms and are yet miserable…”

Mary pauses partly to think, partly to savor the moment. It has taken her a year to get to this point: with two more sentences, she will have finished her novel. A few clicks will send this final part to her blog. But with satisfaction comes reluctance. She is happy and even relieved to be done, and it’s definitely time for a break. But it also seems so — final — to end it. Many readers assured her they felt the same way; they didn’t want it to end, or they hoped she would start a sequel soon.

Putting the laptop aside, she unfolds her legs and stretches across the bed. She has never been one of the popular girls at school — and after listening and watching them, she is glad. Their world was clothes, makeup, and their figures… and what kind of life was that? The boys don’t buzz around her like bees around a rose, but she had created a world in the last year, and if boys didn’t flock to her, all sorts of people had flocked to her story. All the posts telling her they would buy the book if she found a publisher were flattering, but what were the odds? Probably worse than her getting a date for the prom, and she isn’t exactly counting on that either.

She winces for a moment, thinking about how the early parts of her novel really stink compared to the latest — her writing has improved, and she vows to go back and fix up those beginning parts. Some of the readers had caught the odd inconsistency, and she had saved those messages too. “Done” is a relative term, I guess, she thinks, and sits back up to finish her opus.

Continued in Part IV

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 2 comments

Good signs?

M.A.E. is still in the hospital; tomorrow is her earliest chance of getting out and it could be until Friday. She still hasn’t gotten to the point where she can eat solid food yet. I figure her Medicaid application, or some other benefit, must have gone through; they would be pushing her out the door otherwise.

The Boy was home when we got in last night. Much to my surprise, the lip ring was gone (and has stayed gone, so far). Call me a skeptic, but I think something got to him. It might have been Cousin Splat getting busted with a huge amount of pot — The Boy was driving with a car full of kids when they got pulled over, and only Splat got busted. Or it might have been his girlfriend’s mom cutting a deal with him; he ditches the girlfriend and she doesn’t try to get him whacked on statutory (he claims she told him she was 16, not 14, yeah right). Or, he might just be running out of people to sponge off of. He doesn’t really want to get his hair cut, but he’ll do it if he has to... and he probably does to get a job that pays enough to get his car fixed, pay the phone bill, get an apartment, etc. He also says he’s going to get his GED. I’ll believe it when I see it.

But the lack of lip ring is highly encouraging.

Monday, August 07, 2006 1 comment

Miss Diagnosis

With M.A.E. (as we thought) on the mend from her “infection,” I grabbed Mrs. Fetched and Daughter Dearest, jumped into Barge Vader, and headed to North Carolina to visit my mom for a scheduled three-day weekend (mom and her hubby evacuate Florida for the summer, visit relatives in the Midwest, and then rent a place in the mountains for August). Amazing what a 2000-foot change in elevation makes — Planet Georgia is like a sauna, with temperature and humidity in the 90s, but we luxuriated in low-70s almost all weekend (and with temperatures that pleasant, who cares about humidity?).

Meanwhile, back at FAR Manor, M.A.E. had a relapse early Saturday morning. She called Mrs. Fetched’s mom, who took her back to the hospital — but got a doctor who she knew. This guy had a little bit more on the ball than the ER doc; he (correctly) figured out it was gallstones and admitted her to the hospital. Thanks to the magic of cellphones, we found out fairly quickly what was up and Mrs. Fetched called M.A.E.’s aunt and grandmother in Florida. They grabbed a flight and were there in short order. With everything under control, we came home Sunday afternoon as scheduled; the hospital wasn’t exactly out of the way, so we went there first. M.A.E. was kind of in and out of it, between the pain and the pain meds, but we had a nice chat with the aunt (she and I have this in common: we both hate Lotus Notes). Mrs. Fetched sent Daughter Dearest and me on our way to pick up a prescription and then go home and unpack.

Word this morning: the surgeon removed what he called “the worst-looking gall bladder I ever saw” and told M.A.E. she has to stay in the hospital one or two more days. I think the hospital is going to help M.A.E. apply for Medicaid, because that’s probably the only way they’ll ever get paid. By the time she gets out, M.A.E. won’t have had a cig in five days. Here’s hoping she extends that particular record.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 8 comments

The No Juice Blues

Current music: Lift It - World-Wide Message Tribe

Sing it with me…

Well, my laptop battery’s dead,
It’s power supply’s gone flaky,
Another hour before I go to bed,
And my hands are getting shaky —

My laptop, …
It’s got the No Juice Blues.


I’ve known the battery has been going bad for some time now. The power supply issue kind of snuck up on me in the last day or so.

Fortunately, I have a couple of fallbacks: I can use Daughter Dearest’s power supply, as long as I don’t keep it. My other fallback is the old beige G3 in M.A.E.’s room. It's about eight years old now, and still gets nearly daily use. Then people wonder why I insist on buying Macs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 5 comments

This isn’t good

M.A.E. was complaining of back pain early this morning — it got her up and into the shower at 7:30 a.m., before anyone else was moving. That’s unusual to the point of being unique. Mrs. Fetched told her she would call the chiro-cracker to see if they could set up an emergency appointment.

After getting home just a few minutes ago, Daughter Dearest filled me in on the rest of it. She went to the chiro-cracker, then came home and started feeling sick. When she started throwing up blood around 4 p.m. (which is not what I would call a good sign), Mrs. Fetched took her to the hospital. And there they are as of now.

So if you’re the praying type, pray for M.A.E. Good thoughts, well-wishes, etc., are also appreciated.

UPDATE (9:06 p.m.): Thanks Katie, and everyone else who is reading. I heard from Mrs. Fetched about a half-hour ago; the docs haven’t figured out what’s going on. M.A.E.’s white blood cell count is elevated, which indicates an infection of some sort but they don’t know why it would be causing back & chest pain.

LAST UPDATE (9:47 p.m.): She’s home. The problem is a lower respiratory infection, for which she has been prescribed antibiotics. And I guess we’ll crank up the “quit smoking” nags a few more notches.

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