22 January 2009


There are some people who feel that Microsoft is a wonderful, forward thinking company that makes wonderful products that advance the human race. There are other people who think that Microsoft is a corporate monster that just swallows up independent thinking companies and programmers, or their ideas, and creates a half-baked, bug riddled version of their software. I don't wish to enter into the fray on one side or the other, but I can present some basic data and let you decide for yourself where the truth lies in this particular situation.

My current laptop, which is 3 or 4 years old, we can't remember which, has begun to have some problems. The battery is capable of holding a charge long enough for me to unplug the computer, walk to the next room and plug it back in, but not much longer than that. Occasionally when it has been in hibernation mode it refuses to wake back up. There are days that Firefox will allow me two clicks, and two clicks only. We decided last weekend that it was time for a new computer.

We spent a few hours last weekend in Circuit City looking to see what they have available, what with them going out of business and all. Husband spent several hours on the internet looking at various models and finally chose a winner. The order was placed, and today I found a box from Dell sitting on my doorstep.

I excitedly opened the box, unfurled the cord and plugged in my new baby. It slooooooowly booted up, and I got my first look at Windows Vista. I clicked around a little here and there to get the hang of it, then decided I would see if I could watch DVDs. I got out one of my Psych DVDs and put it in. Nothing happened. Hmm. Perhaps it just doesn't have a DVD playing program installed yet. No problem. Next I pugged in my external hard drive to see if I could play one of my MP3 files. Now that's a little strange, the light on the hard drive turns on, but the computer can't seem to see it. Maybe I just need to reboot. Turn it off, turn it on, and hey, presto, there's the external hard drive.

At this point I had to wait for Husband to get home from work so that he could get the internet connection working. He played around with the router for a while and brought me a 50-character key to type in. Once that was done I was able to see the internet. Before I could excitedly go check out the traffic on my blog Husband informed me that I should run Microsoft Update before doing anything else. OK, click on that, and wait while 21 updates are downloaded. After 10 minutes, that's finished and it's time to reboot.

In case that's too blurry to read, it says, "Your computer was unable to start. Startup repair is checking your system for problems..."

Husband is currently in the basement talking to Service Guy trying to see if there is something that can be done, short of reinstalling the BRAND SPANKING NEW computer.

Microsoft. Make of it what you will.

Darn It

There IS a reason why a knitter needs to be continually making socks: they eventually wear out. According to Ravelry I made these in September of 2007. I probably wore them at least once every week between December of '07 and April of '08, then again once a week from November of last year till now. They got thrown in the washing machine and dryer just like all my other clothes, so they may have worn out a little faster than those of someone who hand-washes their socks, but I think it has more to do with just wearing out than rough handling. Daughter told me that we should sew some of her fabric scraps on to cover up the hole (she's teaching herself to sew and has a lot of fabric scraps donated my a sewing neighbor) but I think I'm just going to use the Yarn Harlot's darning method: Say, "Darn it!" while throwing them in the garbage can.

16 January 2009

Things I didn't Want to See

Last night while the wind was whistling past the eaves I started a new pair of socks. Well, I tried to start a new pair of socks. I pulled the loose end out of the middle of the ball and saw this:

So instead of starting a new pair of socks I spent 45 minutes untangling a large mess of yarn. This is Trekking, which I picked up at Stitches Midwest because the Yarn Harlot seems to love it, but so far I'm underwhelmed.

Thing number 2 is this:

At first glance there's nothing wrong here. There are some nice socks made out of the Socks that Rock yarn, so some money went to a good cause. The problem here lies in whose feet are in the socks. They are not my feet. They are Daughter's feet. The socks are a little bit too big, but only just a little bit. It will not be long before my clothes begin disappearing into her room, I fear. hopefully my clothes will be way too geeky for her to want to wear, but who knows.

And lastly there's this:

That would be the new ejector pit pump that was installed this morning. While I was doing the last load of laundry yesterday (why did it have to be the last load, why not the first?) I noticed that the water was backing up onto the laundry room floor. Being experienced in these things, I put my hand on the pipe and could feel that the old pump was just running and running, but not accomplishing anything. As much as I can sympathize with that particular feeling, it needed to be replaced. Last night husband went to Home Depot and purchased a new pump (this one has a lifetime warranty) and this morning it was installed to the tune of $500, just for the labor and a couple of pieces of pvc pipe.

Hopefully this will be the end of things I didn't want to see for a while.

14 January 2009

B is for ...


This is the forecast for tomorow:

Notice what the "high" temperature will be? I realize that it's politically incorrect to say so, but I'd really like some of that global warming they're always talking about on the news. We've got so much snow piled up next to the end of the driveway that I can barely shovel the new stuff up over it.

So if a person is going to be suffering through frigid days and nights what should she do? What could possibly make the weather a little less unpleasant?

Socks made from the leftover sweater yarn, that's what. And yes, those are my long-johns, it really is that cold.

12 January 2009

Geek's Paradise

This past weekend we went to Husband's End-of-the-Year party given by his employer. In years past they rented the employees a room at a hotel/indoor waterpark in Wisconsin. Over the course of the last few years they decided to move the venue, primarily because the bar in the old hotel was only open till 10:00. They also decided that they were only paying for the brunch, and the employees had to spring for their own rooms.

This year they chose a place much closer to the Chicagoland area which was good because this is what it looked like shortly before we left:

After shoveling off the driveway and making sure the 4-wheel drive was working fine on my car, we headed off to beautiful Gurnee, Illinois to visit the Key Lime Cove Resort. Once we got there it became very clear that the people in charge of this place know what they are doing.

You walk in to the front door and instead of seeing a traditional reception area you see this:

A festive, tropical street to stroll down. The front desk is the area to the left, but everything else is a money making opportunity of some sort for the resort. You can have your picture taken by the nice man with the parrots, only $12 for a 5x7. You could have the airbrush artist create a lovely sign with your family name, all of the letters looking like palm trees, parrots, or other tropically themed items. I didn't bother to check the price on that one. There are 2 gift shops, a candy counter, and I'm not sure what all else. Don't have any cash on you? Not a problem because the wristband you got at the desk has an electronic sensor in it. It's connected to your billing information, so you can just walk over, swipe your hand in front of the machine and you're good to go. Even the vending machines use the wristband system. I'm sure that they're hoping that if you're not using real money you won't realize that you're charging a regular sized Snickers bar to your room for $1.40. They did at least have the common decency to only give the electronic wristbands to Husband and I, and gave Daughter a plain plastic one.

Daughter let us spend about 2.5 minutes in our room before stripping off all non-swimsuit clothing and demanding that we take her to the waterpark.

As far as indoor waterparks go it was fine. There was a lazy river, several tube slides, body slides, and a small wave pool. They also had one of the obligatory play structures that spray cold water from innumerable spouts, hoses, showers and buckets. My favorite spot was the hot tub. No one under 16 allowed without a parent and a maximum capacity of about 35, which they enforced. There were only a few times while I was soaking that I was wishing evil upon a poorly behaved splasher.

Sunday was set aside for the company brunch. I'm pretty sure that whoever planned the event didn't have children, or has children with very odd taste in food. There was sushi, salad, ratatouille, salmon, and chicken covered with mushrooms and unidentifiable vegetables. Daughter filled up on chocolate cake and dinner rolls.

And just what does a room full of computer consultants having a company outing look like?

That would be a bunch of geeks standing around waiting their turn to play Rock Band II on one of the 3 game systems that were the main focus of the luncheon. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite so soothing while you're eating your hotel food as listening to some off-key techie sing about the "Spirit in the Sky." Husband tells me it's even more entertaining when you've had a bottle of beer and 3 kamikazes at the bar the night before.

The event did end on a somewhat sour note for me. It seems that at some point on Sunday my sunglasses were twisted in some horrible way and would now fit on someone with a head the same size and shape as a basketball, but not me. I guess when you take into account the potential for disaster with the snow and traffic, losing one's favorite sunglasses is a small price to pay for an enjoyable weekend.

08 January 2009

A is for...


I'm going to try to do the ABC along again this year. Last year I started and then life went and got complicated, so I didn't manage to keep up or finish. This year I'm going to give it a go again.

When husband got home from work last night he told me about his day, then asked me what I had done. I held up a sock that was 3/4 finished. He looked at it and then asked me, "How many hand made pairs of socks do you have?" I'm sure that he was noting my lack of good socks and not in any way trying to imply that I've made too many, or that I spend too much time knitting.

So yes, dear, because I do not have enough pairs of them, I'm making socks AGAIN.

This pair is made from a skein of Socks that Rock in the Knitters Without Borders colorway. I picked it up at Stitches Midwest. When you buy a skein some of the proceeds go to the Yarn Harlot's Knitters Without Borders project.