Monday, November 17, 2003

Short, weird, & wild (and some unusual swearing)

From the ashes and thick, obscuring smoke, to the computer virus that nearly ate my computer, it has been a very odd month. I found out just how quickly I can load up a van with the essentials. I also found out just how ineffective these large media outlets can be. You want world news? CNN is great. You want something going on in the nearest large city and/or richest suburb? The 'local' news is the place for you. If you want to know just where the fire is (and more importantly, where it IS GOING) that has caused the evacuation notices in your town, you are most sincerely and without a doubt fucked. Heck, all I heard was that my town was being evacuated and that was it as far as the media outlets were concerned. They showed a lot of scenery that didn't belong to any geography that I live around and promptly went to where they could (a) put their reporters in the most danger or (b) where the rich folks' multibuck estates might go up in flames. I've got smoke turning the sky black and ashes falling on my home; I want to know where the fire is, where it is traveling, and whether or not I need to get the hell out of the way.

As it turns out, we didn't have to move. There is a local a.m. radio station here -- and by local, it is in this valley and concerns itself with this area's affairs -- that literally talked itself laryngitic keeping this community supplied with useful information. They kept us up on the areas being evacuated. They told us why the places were being evacuated, where the fire was, where it was going -- in short, absolutely everything that we needed to know to keep ourselves safe without panicking. They told us about evacuation centers, who needed what, where supplies were being gathered. It's what we needed and was the best argument I have ever heard against multimedia conglomerations taking over every nook and cranny of the media business. If CNN had owned that little station I would never have known what I absolutely needed to know.

On a lesser note, if you don't count my online class, my computer caught a virus that really did a number on it. We've had the computer for more than two years without trouble, and this worm came along and ate it. Okay, the virus had a lot of help from a computer ignoramus (ME) who thought she was capable of removing it without really screwing up vital software components. It took a computer buddy more than 6 hours to fix that mistake. Our computer is scrambled, guys and dolls. It works, it has been patched together rather effectively, but a lot of the software programs aren't playing nice with the other software programs. Error messages, mysterious shut downs, 'component didn't install correctly' messages....oh, my aching skull. I think we'll probably reformat the harddrive and start over. THANK YOU MICROSOFT for making this migraine possible.

Still, the kids are in good health, the cats are still with us, the dog is loyal and loveable, and my husband hasn't divorced me and hasn't begun talking to guys nicknamed "Killer". Life is good and looks to continue. I have been somewhat sidetracked in my scholastic career by a sudden and vehement desire to learn computer science, but I can probably keep that to just one class per semester until my transfer and poli sci classes are out of the way. I just want to be able to know what software I actually need and what configuration to run it in so it plays nice with other programs. Really. I should be able to stop there. (And you will just have to ignore my husband's disbelieving laughter in the background. All those years of marriage have not made him the absolute expert on my behavior. Trust me.)

Now I have to go wrestle with a roofer that, like Godot, I have been waiting for an eternity for -- and, completely unGodot-like, called today and announced he could have my roof off before dinner. Contractors. This has been the best argument against building my own house that I could ever have had. And it has almost convinced me :)!

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