A Geek Tragedy

120919

So I wound up returning that computer I bought, just in case any of y’all were breathless with anticipation. I returned it and I got a new one and then, pretty much immediately, my 2009 MacBook Pro died.

Or rather, I killed it.

I was replacing its hard drive with the 1TB beast from B!’s 2007 model, and there must have been some sort of static discharge because now the damn thing won’t even boot. If you put your ear very close to the keyboard you can hear the gentle purr of parts whirring, but there’s no lights, no chimes, and certainly no error messages to pave the way. I emailed my tech guy (yup, I have a tech guy) and he agreed that I was totally screwed. So we’re debating between a new Mac Mini or a 13″ MacBook Pro from 2011. Like money grows on trees.

I feel bad about killing the computer, but not THAT bad. I mean, I probably should have taken better precautions when I was changing out the drives – all the RAM installs had made me a little cavalier. But you know what? Lesson learned. Why look back. Ever forward. Now we get another new toy, which is fun, and I get to spend more of my credit card company’s hard-earned capital. So it’s really a win-win.

#not


Sometimes I think I’m charged with negative ions.

120821

In what seems like a string of unimaginable coincidences, in the past several weeks I have spent the better part of a month’s salary on not-so-extravagant electronic items, only to have them die at their pulse-driven cores: zero by one by one.

1) Failed 2009 MacBook Pro RAM upgrade: $150 +/- 12 hours of my time

2) Failed 2003 Ford Focus: $850 +/- untold pain and suffering

3) Failed 2011 MacBook Pro (battery? logic board? They’re a little fuzzy on what they’ll be replacing.): $2,200 +/- 36 hours of my time

I thought it was bad when the Focus’ main computer gave out after we’d just ponied up for new brakes and a clutch, so you can forgive me for wanting to crush glass when my brand-new refurb MacBook Pro suddenly stopped charging in the middle of my workday. I mean, I LITERALLY spent two whole days configuring the machine – reinstalling software, repartitioning hard drives, restoring from backups – not exactly the fun time one wants to have on any given Friday. I’ve invested a lot. Which is why I almost strangled the Apple “Genius” at the bar when he said to me, blithely,

“Well, you have 14 days to return it, if you’d like.”

Um, no DUDE, I do NOT want to RETURN the computer. What I WANT is for the computer to WORK.

Which, I think, is exactly what came out of my mouth.

But now, I’m thinking. Does this mean that the computer’s a lemon? Ought I to cut losses, return the beast, and go back to square one? More research? More time? ANOTHER three days spent repartitioning hard drives? Internet, I’m confused. I need help. Please guide me.


Happy belated birthday – I’m looking at you, Pusser.

120802

I’ve been reminded, lately, of this story from my wedding. It always comes up when brides ask how we move about during the ceremony, but somehow the mid-meeting telling seems oversharey and inappropriate. So from now on, I can direct them to this blog post instead.

So it’s March 2007. I’m in the white dress and Katsumi, miraculously, has trimmed his beard. We’re kneeling on the altar of the Catholic church I’ve attended since childhood, and I’m struggling to understand the West African priest who is presiding over the ceremony. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spy something large and spidery clambering across the floor with a videocamera in its hand. It’s Pusser, who you might remember from my many misadventures in North Dakota. By the time we parted ways he’d have been my boss for nearly ten years, although I didn’t know it at the time, and I had specifically NOT asked him to shoot my wedding. But shoot it he would, apparently, because there he was, crawling one-handed across the altar, like it was the most normal thing in the world.

“PUSSER!!” I hissed, gesturing furiously in the direction of the baptismal font. “MOVE!!” I didn’t dare to glance back at my mother.

The priest looked down and stared bemusedly at Pusser,who shrugged and slunk away.

Some minutes later, there was a bang and a LOUD crash, which would later be reported to me as the landing of the same unabashed would-be videographer after he tripped mightily over several pews trying to get a canted angle of my bridesmaids. “He was like, literally AIRBORNE,” I’d hear later, during cocktail hour. “Unreal!”

I stopped working with him rather abruptly in 2009, The Year of Trouble, just three months before my marriage officially dissolved. But I still love this story, and so many other things about my wedding day! And despite all the cringeworthy moments, I’m so glad to have it on video. Well – most of it, anyway.


If we all did our jobs this well, we’d still be beating our dinner with clubs (part II)

120404

So B! and I went out to meet some new clients tonight at this cafe on the lower side of Newbury St. For those of you who don’t know, Newbury St. is the Park Avenue of Boston, and the side that I call “lower” is actually “upper” in terms of money spent per square inch – so much so that I actually felt a little squidgy going in. If I’d thought better, I would have brought my Gucci bag. Turns out, I needn’t have worried.

First of all, we walk in, and it’s like, ninety-five degrees and humid. Almost uncomfortably loud. Although the place was half-empty, every available table was covered with dirty dishes, and a single bench provided the only available seating which means we would have had to sit, all four of us, in a row, backs to the wall. Meanwhile, there were three kids behind the counter snapping gum and texting.

Luckily, SEAT seats opened up while I (inexplicably) ordered a hot coffee. “I’ll make you a fresh pot,” said one of the counter kids, just as our clients arrived. I was a bit flustered, having been almost late and kind of sweating in the tropical climate, so, after clearing the trash to a nearby table, I tried to act normal and got right down to business. About twenty minutes later, some other young lad strolls out of the back and decides it’s time to (finally) bus the tables.

“Excuse me – ” says my bride, flagging him down, “She ordered a coffee awhile ago – is that coming?”

“Oh um, I don’t know,” replies the kid, who i now recognize as the one who took my order. An uncomfortable pause ensues, as though he thinks, perhaps, that *I* know where my coffee has gone to. “Did you order it from me? I probably just forgot.”

“Right,” I say. What I think is: “Oh, OK, kid who works in the high-rent district of Back Bay but can’t be bothered to do his job. That’s cool. I mean, not like I paid for it or anything – not like I even WANT it. I’d rather have a Diet Coke, or even a cold glass of ice water. Have you noticed how warm it is in here?” I’m starting to seriously worry about my deodorant.

A beat. “I guess I’ll bring it over then. Hold on.” And he disappears.

“Um, that was weird,” I tell our clients, who are as mystified as I. And we continue talking about their wedding.

Five minutes later dude comes back over with this HOT HOT HOT cup of coffee. “My coworker must have forgotten it,” he says, totally blame-shifting but who am I to say, and pretty much walks away without another word. I mean, the coffee must have been sitting on top of the cappuccino machine, or in front of a heating vent or something. The saucer was SUPER warm.

I look down at my atomic coffee, which, though I smile and compliment, tastes like rustic battery acid and cigarettes.

Ten minutes later, they started blasting hardcore rap. We collectively decided it was time to leave. Another successful mission, by EcA Productions.

PS: For those of you who are interested, “If we all did our jobs this well, we’d still be beating our dinner with clubs (part I)” can be found here


(Not) Getting a Cab in Austin: Part 3

120320

So when we left off, I’d just spoken with the owner of Yellow Cab Austin, and given him the sensible advice to not make promises he couldn’t keep. That night I had the opportunity, once again, to call upon Yellow Cab for transport – my flight back to Boston was at 9:40 the following morning. And lo! Behold! I was greeted with a recording giving a disclaimer about their dispatch service malfunction! I’d effected real change, it seemed!

Nevertheless, I made my reservation for 6am, and called Lone Star Cab as backup for a pickup at 7.

Me being me, I slept through my alarm. I woke at 7:30 to my phone ringing, with the taxi driver from Lone Star on the other end of the line. This is 7:30am, mind you, which is neither 6 nor 7. “Where are you?” he asked me, in a thickly accented voice. “I can’t find you on the GPS.”

“Um, maybe try a map,” I suggested, not unhelpfully. “I think it’s off Airport Boulevard, but I can’t be sure. I don’t live here.”

“OK, OK, OK,” he interrupted. “I be there soon.”

I got up, brushed my teeth, and set about packing. Half an hour later, as I was finishing off the last of the Diet Coke and smoking the day’s first cigarette, he called back.

“OK, so you are coming off I-35 from downtown, and which way do you turn off the exit?”

I mean, was I  UNCLEAR earlier about the ‘not living here’ thing? “I really don’t know,” I said, “I’ve never been to Austin before in my life. I think you turn right.”

“Right?” His tone was almost accusatory. “You sure it’s not left?”

“What? NO, I’m not sure! I DON’T LIVE HERE. But I think it’s right.” I stubbed out my Camel Light and huffed inside the house.

“OKOKOK, I call you back.”

I hadn’t yet had time to put the empty 2-liter in the trashcan when my phone rang again. But, instead of the cranky cabbie, it was a pleasant audio recording informing me that my cab was approaching. Yellow Cab Austin! My chariot had arrived – and only two and a half hours late!

Lone Star called back one more time, but I didn’t bother answering. It was my last cab ride in Austin. I wanted to enjoy every second.


%d bloggers like this: