Thursday, February 28, 2008

Twenty-four hours?? HA!

I'm mostly back. Mostly. This was a real mess. I was without a 'puter entirely for over a week, and then got it back but without any of the software that I had collected over the years, and then very shortly a CD/DVD drive that quit working again as I tried reinstalling stuff - and so I got to have the OS re-reinstalled and start over. And then the drive quit working again. We finally decided it was one particular install disk that it didn't like, and as long as I keep that disk in another room where the 'puter doesn't have to even look at it, we're okay.

So here is what I lost:
  • All my software. And in reloading things I'm finding that most of my versions were so old, I can't even reinstall and will have to upgrade.
  • All my bookmarks. Ugh.
  • All my old email. That includes folders and folders and folders of family and friend history. I thought it would be backed up but it is not.
  • All my old email ADDRESSES. That probably means YOUR email address, too. I may never get back in touch with all those people now. This really breaks my heart. Please, I'm begging you, if you are reading this, please drop me a line so I'll have your address back.
  • All my bookmarks. All of them. I have years and years of bookmarks that are gone.
  • All my saved passwords. All my financial website passwords are nuked; my eBay userIDs that I don't use very often; my various email addys which I couldn't check even by webmail from my work 'puter because I did not have the passwords.
  • There is also some stuff that I hope is still on the backup server, like all the family photos I still had on my hard drive and a couple thousand fonts I had bought a couple of years ago, but hopefully they can be recovered.
I still have some software to reinstall, like iTunes; I'm back to a really old version of Photoshop, and I'll have to buy Microsoft Office again. I also can't use my old Quickbooks anymore and am waiting on Quickbooks Pro to arrive so I can do a restore on my data.

It could be much worse, and I sure hope I have learned my lesson not to be quite so dependent upon a computer. (Probably not.)

One good thing is that I found a deal on Quickbooks Pro: Amazon has it on sale right now for about $160 with free shipping, and then if you apply coupon code BYAPSEGV, you get another twenty bucks off. It retails for $200, so that's really good. I'm thinking of upgrading the church's Quicken (even older than my Quickbooks) with this one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Going dark for awhile (hopefuly a short while)

My Dell Inspiron's CD/DVD player/writer drive died a few months ago (a slow death; it dropped functions one by one until it could no longer even see disks in the drive). I have extended support from Dell, which used to mean they sent a real live person out to your house, who fixed your 'puter and you went on your way, but now it means you spend half an hour in an online support queue, then you chat with someone on the other side of the planet for a couple of hours, and then - or at least this is how it is working for me this time - they wipe your entire hard drive, restore your system back to as manufactured and let you start fresh. Augh! I asked for a week to do some frantic backing up, but my time is up in... let's see... 14 minutes. Dell is going to have a techie call me at 3:00 Central and start wiping.

So if you don't hear from me for awhile, that's why. I'd appreciate someone sending a rescue party if I'm not back within, say, 24 hours.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flags as Graphs


Why, you ask? No reason at all.

Of course everybody knows that the music of the 1980s was THE BEST music, right?

I totally forgot about this one.

Friday, February 15, 2008

All-State Speech - and Champeenship Barberin'

We're off this weekend to Ames, Iowa, to the university campus to the All-State Speech Festival. Miss B. is performing a mime titled "Worms Meet the River" with her friend DB. They swept through both Districts and State (which I insist should be called Regionals, not State, because that's what it is, but nobody listens to me), and were invited as one of only 22 mime troupes to perform at All-State. Also going is our school's Radio News team, and they are one of only 15 teams in the state to be invited! For a tiny school, we are really strong in speech and drama, thanks mostly to Tammy Manning and Jackie Garin, the coaches.

The All-State Festival is a great source of entertainment if you are needing something to do on a frozen Saturday in February. There are events in several buildings on campus. If you don't have a team you want to follow around, you can just park yourself somewhere for a couple hours of one-act plays, then hop over to a classroom and watch some improvisation, then catch a mime or two, then watch some musical theater, then some choral reading, then Reader's Theater, then a small acting ensemble, then back to the improv. The kids who do improvisation completely amaze me. I don't understand how anyone can do that. I stand in awe. Anyway, it's an awful lot of fun for the cost of an $8 armband, and tomorrow is going to be a fun-packed day for us (and a stress-packed day for Miss B, who doesn't get to perform till midafternoon, so she can spend the whole day in a fuss).

Also on campus at the same time is the grand championship to determine the Best Barber in Iowa. New Albin's own Walt Breeser is one of the 10 finalists and will be clipping and chatting sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. We hope to figure out where it happens and be there to cheer him on!

Debarking Dogs

This is kind of diving in with a bizarre change of subject, but I can't help it: I have fallen behind on the blogging and ya just gotta start somewhere.

I stumbled on a discussion of the subject of "debarking" dogs and it got me thinking on this subject. Now some people think this is horrible dog abuse, and I understand many municipalities have outlawed it - including the entire state of New Jersey. Well, I'll tell you: We had 2 Keeshonden, Brook and Meadow, when we lived in California. They were "sisters" who did everything together, and that included barking. Keeshonden are great talkers. They talk all the time. It's one of the reasons they tend to get marked down in obedience trials: They do what they're supposed to, but they have so much fun doing it that they talk about it the whole time. Loudly. Their barks are cute, in my opinion, and I love to hear them talk.

BUT... we did have neighbors, and they didn't think the barking was so cute. Also one set of neighbors had about a zillion dogs of their own that would get loose and run along the outside of our fence, yelling at our dogs, and everybody would get into a giant bark-fest that was impossible to subdue. We could yell at the dogs all we wanted, all it did was hurt our girls' feelings - and the dogs on the other side of the fence would just shout back, "Up yours!" in dog language.

So we had the girls debarked. It did take a general anesthetic, which is always scary, and they seemed to have a sore throat for about 24 hours after the procedure. But after that? They were fine. They still had the barking behaviors but not the volume. They still tore up and down the fence with the neighbor's rotten dogs, only now it was the neighbors' dogs who were making all the noise. Brookie and Meadow still announced each and every happening outside the house like before. They still went nuts every time the doorbell rang, just in case we hadn't heard it. They still had their cute conversational barks with us and one another, only now they were more like "whuff, whuff" instead of ear-splitting BARK BARK. In fact we are absolutely positive that Brook, who was absolutely brilliant, learned to ask for banana bread by name. Barry would ask her what she wanted and she would say, "waWAwa wa! waWAwa wa!"

In short, though Bo is not debarked, and where we live he doesn't need to be, I personally think it is a good idea, or can be, if the situation fits. I would rather a dog be skillfully debarked and live on with his or her family than end up in a shelter, or hurt by an angry neighbor, or get yelled at by his loved ones all the time.