Damn you to (computer) hell

My computer is dying.

This is the computer that, when I first bought it, had what seemed like an obscene amount of power and more memory than I could ever possibly use no matter how technology might evolve or advance. The one that would never become obsolete because it came with every bell and whistle ever known to man (aside from the CD burner because, seriously, the zip drive is the wave of the future and no one is *ever* going to need a CD burner).

This is the computer that was going to last me forever because I wasn't going to download anything that might infect it or otherwise fuck it up. The one that I protected with the *paid* versions of the top firewall, antivirus, and spyware programs. The one where I had cookies disabled and pop-up ads blocked ... at least until I got annoyed at how I kept having to enter my user name and password to get into my favorite sites.

Fat lot of good it did me.

Now my computer randomly fails to respond when I try to open various programs. It freaks out if I try to open more than one browser window or run two programs at once. I get the big blue screen of death every time I try to close out of a program.

The computer refuses to shut down or restart the proper way under any circumstances. Which is particularly annoying since I need to restart it at least 100 times a day.

In fact, it stalls and freezes so frequently that I don't even bother waiting to see if the system will stop being busy waiting for the close program dialog box to display. I control-alt-delete first, ask questions later. And if control-alt-delete doesn't work in a second or two, I just punch the reset button, hope I remembered to save whatever I was doing, and pray it's not the last time my computer comes back to life.

Stupid computer.

What really freaks me out is the fact that I've got almost all of my pictures stored on my hard drive. And, with no CD burner, I have no practical way to back them up or move them to a new system (amazing zip drive of the future notwithstanding).

I've got lots of writing on my hard drive, too, but word documents can always be e-mailed as an attachment to myself or transferred to floppy discs. That's assuming they're still making computers with floppy disc drives these days. Are they? No, don't tell me -- I don't want to know. Anyway, much of the writing on my computer is crap that can be safely deleted or printed out and filed away in a cardboard box in the back of a closet.

Actually, come to think of it, my photos could probably use a good weeding out, too.

Anyway, I tried running a registry cleaner. Like I said, I've got a good spyware detector. If any techies out there have any other suggestions, I'm happy to hear them. Otherwise, it looks like I'm going to be shopping for a new one ... and yet another line of credit.



It snowed here yesterday -- and it stuck, too -- but this morning it was gone.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled fall weather.

Not good at math

My blog is worth $11,855.34.
How much is your blog worth?

I only have one question:

Where do I go to get the money?

Signs of aging ... or feeble-mindedness?

I only have time for a couple of quick observations today.

First, I have lived in New England pretty much all my life. I'm familiar with the concept of nasty weather. And yet today, despite the fact that we are having a nor'easter (the colloquial term for "big fucking storm") I went out of the house without wearing boots. What the hell?

Second, when I hear a rap song that samples a vintage tune, it's the old song that gets stuck in my head instead of the new one. How lame it that?

I really ought to be working right now, but ...

This is awesome:

LOS ANGELES ( -- Blog this: U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs.

About 35 million workers -- one in four people in the labor force -- visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age’s analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks -- bloggers essentially take a daily 40-minute blog break.

Sorry, gotta run ... my blog break's almost over. Click here for the full article, though you may need to register to read it.

It's been a dark and stormy month

I don't really like to read other people's blog entries about why they haven't been posting lately, and I never thought I'd write one myself, but ...

The light has been terrible lately. Overcast, rainy, grey, flat, boring, icky. And so I haven't been much inspired to take a lot of photographs. Although I will say that some of the pictures from my recent mini-vacation in New Hampshire were taken in the rain and fog and they came out OK. These two, for example:

foggy dock space back to the foggy dock

But once I got home from my trip I got busy with work (actual work plus some office drama that I don't think I'll go into here) and busy with life and busy finishing up my mom's blog and I just didn't get around to posting much here. And the light really has sucked.

And why has the sucky light affected my posting here? Well, the connection is that when I'm not taking photographs I like to look at photographs. And so I've been looking at a lot of pictures on Flickr lately. And the other thing is that I tend to get obsessed with new things. And I really have become obsessed with Flickr.

I mean really obsessed.

Since I've the last time I posted to Gienna Writes, I've submitted a few pictures to the deleteme! group, and even got one picture voted into the group's safe. It's this one:

Three baskets

Of course, right around the time that my pic got posted to the Safe, everyone started complaining that the quality of the photos in the safe had really gone downhill.

The rest of the pics I submitted to the group for critique went down in flames, and deservedly so:

Orange Kiss I'm a little teapot Ice Machine, Wet Planking, Wires and Wood, Shapes, Shadow and Sky (and a little bit of puke)
at the beach tete a tete going nowhere
morning on the lake Bird Watching Green Bud

(click on any of the pics in this post for the larger version.)

So that was fun, but I also realized that I have a lot more to learn about photography and that I do want to try and improve. Hence, the looking at other people's photos thing. Because in my mind that's one of the best ways to learn.

And, holy crap, there are some really excellent photographs on Flickr. I made these mosaics from my "favorites"pages. I could stare at these things all day (and sometimes I do):

my faves 1

my faves 2

My favorites 4

(Clicking on any of these images will take you to a page with links for each beautiful photograph. Also, there is a row missing in the last image ... you can see the missing pics here. Also, for photos I've added since I made these tiles, click here. That'll keep you busy for an hour or three.)

So, that's what I've been doing online lately.

I've been keeping a journal for just about as long as I can remember. I have stacks and stacks of them in a drawer in my office. But my enthusiasm for journaling and the urge to write comes and goes. Sometimes I'm really motivated to write every little thing that happens. Sometimes I go for long stretches where I don't write anything at all. During the years that I was married, for example, I barely even filled a few pages of one notebook. (Being miserable tends to dampen the creative urge and the drive towards self-reflection.)

Since I've been keeping my journal online, I've been much more faithful about adding to it. I think that's because it's so accessible (so long as there's a computer around) and because I find typing easier and faster than writing longhand. There's something about the fact that other people can read it that adds an interesting element to the mix, too. I mostly write this for myself, but the fact that it is public adds a little drama, I guess. And I love drama.

Anyway, this is a really roundabout way of saying that while I've been obsessing about photography lately I've also been missing the writing and think I'm ready to get back to it again.

And, just in time, too, because November is coming and you know what that means, right? Yup, it's time for National Novel Writing Month (affectionately known as NaNoWriMo) again.

Now, I can tell you right now that with my new work schedule there is no way on god's green earth that I'll be able to write a 40,000-word novel in 30 days. But I was thinking that it would be a good time to get back into "Gienna Writes" and that I might try to do some short stories or crappy poems throughout the month of November.

So I've written it down, which is the first step to getting something done. The next step, I guess, is doing it.

I'll be back ... I'm just going to check in on my Flickr mail ...

Willy and nilly buy a $5 pumpkin

I've started posting some of my vacation pictures online here. But because of the way that Flickr works, the last picture you upload is the first picture in your stream. Which means that if you want to show your pictures from front to back, you have to load them in back to front.

With Blogger, you can tell your vacation story from the beginning but anyone coming along to read it later will read it from the end. It's a crazy, topsy-turvey, mixed up world, you know? What are you gonna do?

Anyway, rather than try to figure all it all out I'm going to just jump around my vacation, telling stories and posting pictures both willy and nilly. These are from the last day, on the drive through Tilton on the way to Rt 93.

You wanna do what?

I tried to take a pic of my mom buying her pumpkin on the farmstand on the side of the road. I tried to do it all sneaky and casual-like, but when I snapped the picture I got the "memory card is full" message. By the time I'd deleted a few shots to make room, she'd already bought her $5 pumpkin and was getting in the car. (Those are our crumpled dollar bills the pumpkin guy is holding, there, see?)

I made her go back and re-enact the scene and I asked the pumpkin guy if he would be in the picture, too. At first, he was all skeptical. "You wanna do what? You wanna take my picture? What do you want to do that for?"

But then he kinda got into it. Next thing you know, he had his arms around my mother and was pointing to the pumpkin like some kind of an actor.

And by some kind of an actor, I mean a really bad actor:

Picking pumpkins (posed)