Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grey Skies are Gonna Clear Up...

First I will tell you why "grey" is written "grey" and not "gray" the way your inner spelling whiz insists. Because "grey" should be spelled "grey" and not "gray" because we speak English and not American. I've become fed up with this difference recently and have decided to willfully disobey the rules of Webster's Dictionary in favor of the language of Shakespeare, Austen, various Brontes, and Dickens.

I will also stop correcting myself when I spell "color" "colour". Clearly "colour" is prettier, and it also more accurately represents the way I happen to pronounce it.

Moving on.

I got home last night only to discover that there was an all-out war, which in my family is demonstrated by silence and thinly veiled rage. Why was everyone angry? Because we now have DSL at my house.

Except we don't yet have a router.

This became a problem because Paul set up the DSL yesterday, so naturally he set it up on his computer.

That may seem self-serving, but understand that Paul's computer does not run on steam-power and is therefore the best choice for high-tech stuff. Since we didn't have any high-tech stuff, we decided to use it for DSL.

She pauses for laughter.




What? no laughter. Fine. Be that way.

I thought it was funny...

Dad, being home yesterday (Monday is his day off--yes, you heard "day"), found it horrific that the DSL was working on Paul's computer and not the "family" computer, by which he meant my PC.

See, about a year ago (I think it was longer, actually...almost two years, I think), Mom and Dad's computer crashed in a horrific and emotionally-scarring way. Because it was too much work and stress, or maybe because they didn't want to spend money on a new computer, they didn't replace it. Instead, Mom would come to me and I would boot up my PC and let her use it. Finally, I decided to just let them use the PC until they replaced theirs. But because Mom and Dad then had a computer, one that worked and went on the internet, they haven't ever gotten around to replacing theirs.

This is no real problem for me, as I have created a little profile for them that lets them do all their stuff while my profile is all "locked down" (or password protected).

The issue is that the PC is made of, well, suck. Instead of circuits, it has, like, suck. That's it. So, when you press a button, it has to get processed by the suck to make other stuff happen. This is why I can type two paragraphs before the first word in my sentence appears on the screen. I have become an accurate speller by simply guessing what I've written, since throughout college, I was unable to see what words I typed until I had three pages finished.

Why is the computer made of suck, you ask? Because we had dial-up. And because I got it second-hand.

So, I got all of the problems of the first owners passed down to me, the second owner. And because it came with some stickers and no software to speak of, I can't actually fix any of those problems without Windows XP discs, or an illegal copy of Windows.

Just by typing that, I've ended up on five Microsoft Watch Lists. Don't worry, Bill. My copy is totally legal, and registered to me. I just have no back-up discs for when Windows crashes. Which it will. I don't have to tell you that, now do I?

Should I say it?

Okay, I will...

VISTA!

See? Because of the crashing?

I'm not even a little funny today. It comes from having M.A.S.H. marathons instead of sleep. If you prick me, I now bleed khaki.

No, I'm not going to prove it!

So, when I got home, we were seconds away from Thunderdome. Paul glaring at Dad, Dad glaring at Paul, Mom looking nervously at both of them because she hates conflict even more than Evan Bayh.

Speaking of Evan Bayh, or rather to him: Thanks a lot, buddy. You just totally blew the election for your party, which now hates you. You handed your seat to the Republican party, and as earlier rants have shown, I have very little faith in Indiana's Republican party leadership. Or any Republican party leadership...It comes from the practice of looking for the guy that anyone can look at and say, "I could so totally have a beer with him and talk about guns and tractors." People like people who don't make them feel stupid just by being smart. So they vote for them. This is sad, because you don't want a beer-drinking tractor-talking gun-totin' buddy in your senate seat, you want someone who can put the beer down and get off the tractor, hand his loaded weapon to another man, sit down at a desk and make policy decisions that will determine whether or not your children can actually go to school, or whether they will have to be taught in a shack at the side of the road by one teacher who covers every grade, like what Laura Ingalls had back in the 1800's.

I had a much longer rant, but I got rid of it. It was long and ranty, and I've had that rant here before.

Here is the Cliff's Notes version: I think we need to stop looking for the lowest common denominator when we're electing our country's leaders. We should find candidates way smarter than all of us, they should be absolutely the most intelligent, the wisest person any of us has ever seen. We should accept nothing less.

I'm done now. Sorry. I couldn't help myself. I've been holding on to that rant for well over 24 hours, and that isn't healthy.

Back to Dad and Paul, burning each other with the lasers of rage shooting out of their respective eyes.

I tell you, I was at that computer, my pre-Windows Update computer, for upwards of three hours. We had to install Internet Explorer using DOS just to get on the internet to make the updates we needed. It's no wonder I spent 11 hours on Christmas day trying to download iTunes only to have it fail, we didn't even have the ability to play the add-on that started the download in the first place.

But I got stopped before I finished. By Service Pack 3. See, I'm missing a file, an important one. One that will make Service Pack 3 work, except since I don't have that file, it won't work, leaving me flipping through book after book of out-dated software from five computers ago looking for the start-up discs for Windows XP only to find that, while I have all the little key-stickers that tell me I have Windows XP in a legally-binding kind of way, I so totally don't have the CDs that came with my computer originally, before the office that decided it didn't want my computer because it was a whole year old sold it to me.

This is bad.

It is bad because it means Windows isn't happy. And when Windows ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And by nobody, I mean every other program my computer will every use.

If I picked up a Magic 8-Ball right now and shook it, the little triangle would say, "I see a five-week struggle with Microsoft in your future" or "You are about to eat a lot of Tums, stop sleeping, and still have stabbing pains from your stomach where you probably have an ulcer but you don't really know because you refuse to ask the doctor about it because if you asked him, he would tell you what you don't want to know, which is that you have an ulcer. Then you will have to give up dairy."

I have a headache.

The Magic 8-Ball is right, and not just about my medical prognosis. I will be on the phone with a computer for the rest of my life.

The plus side is, I can now be on the phone with the tech people (or their computers) while I am fixing the problem on my computer without having to pull the keyboard over to the window so I can plaster my face against it to get a cell phone signal while I squint at the monitor and type in commands.

That used to be bad.

Still, we have no router...this is bad. Bad, because it means that we can't use the internet all at the same time until it comes, and bad because we all want to use the computer now, because we can. Paul wants to run raids or dungeons in WOW. Dad wants to listen to people with real talent play the Irish whistle, then listen to them all again. I want to 1. get Dad's Christmas present (and iPod shuffle) working so I (a) can stop feeling bad about being the only one who can set it up and being unable to do so and (b) I can make it so that not all of us have to listen to the aforementioned Irish whistle music, because Dad can download it and play it on his shuffle. But I also 2. Want to play on Ravelry for real, something I have never done, because I could only load it at work and playing on Ravelry while at work is one of those things you don't want to get caught doing too many times and 3. watch all the television shows I could ever want while knitting, like the two episodes of Fringe I missed this season.

Meanwhile, poor Mom, who wouldn't stand up for herself and demand a turn, wants to use Ravelry. I signed her up, but she's never been able to really use it, because she's only ever been near dial-up, because your average PC isn't the kind of thing you can put in a bag and carry to Culvers for Wi-Fi.

Poor Mom.

We have got to get that router, if only because I am only home for a few hours every evening, and they tend to coincide with Paul's peak raiding time and the short span of time that Dad is home and still conscious. I can see only bad things happening, if this wait goes on for much longer.

I also can see only bad things relating to our setting up the router and getting it to work while Dad stands looming over us with The Furrow in his brow at full depth, as if to say, "I don't understand why you two suck at everything you try to do, or why you have to keep doing it and keep sucking at it even when I clearly want you to stop and go away, so I can do what I want to do, far away from either of you, because I disapprove of you strongly at this moment. Very strongly. In fact, I may just stare at you longer, just so you know that every moment I stand here is a favor to you, you sad, sad examples of human beings. If this continues, I will begin to disapprove of you even when you aren't in my way or inconveniencing me, because this is a failure I cannot overlook and will not forget."

The Furrow can say all of those things. In several languages.

We need that router now, faster than I need the yarn I ordered for the Myrtle Cardigan, which I just want because it looked pretty on the internet and I bet it'll look prettier in person if I could only see it for real.

If you read a news article in the coming days telling you about a family whose young son and patriarch were involved in some kind of spree-killing, starting aimlessly and ending with each other, you know it will be about our family. If you read about a seemingly sweet, caring girl would light the people she lives with on fire while they sleep, it will be about our family, and if you read about a Midwestern housewife that got in a car and drove away, only to vanish from the face of the earth, it will be about our family. We will be survived by one angry, hate-filled gluttonous feline and the sweetest little dog that ever lived, so I'm counting on you, my kind friends, to make sure they are cared for with love and kindness. Darcy likes chicken livers cut up in her din-din and those chicken-jerky treats you find at Walmart. Myst likes to eat the eyes of her prey and leave their remains on the back steps. She also likes to smell your eyes, which tells me that if any one of us kicks it, she'll have them out of us in a minute. Just so you know.

I really hope that doesn't happen. Is that the UPS truck? Maybe? Please?

We did finally get YouTube working last night, and I leave you all with the greatest hits of our family, the Fail Blog video that Paul says gives all environmentalists a bad name (Shannon will like this...)



This one that is sure to make those of you who are, shall we say, innocent in any way shape or form to projectile vomit.

You will be scarred for life if you watch this.

It is not for the faint of heart.

James, if the kids are in the room, make them leave. I'm being serious. This is for Mature eyes only. MA for Mature. I mean it. Adult Swim made this.

Ready?

Those of you who don't think you should see it, skip down to the howling puppy. You want to see Howling Puppy instead. It's cute and no one has their head explode in it. Which is more than I can say for this next video.

Go on, skip to the next one...




Okay.

Those of you who are still with me are those of you who have brothers, love The Simpsons and watched Eek the Cat as children. You're ready. You have stomachs made of steel, and you think the only thing funnier than cartoon violence is fake blood with live actors. Here we go:



See? Gross, violent, horrible, and Paul and I can't watch it without laughing so hard we cry.

Hey everybody! It's safe to come back now!

Now we have the howling puppy. He speaks for himself, is adorable, and the way his little mouth goes when he howls is so cute you want to adopt his whole litter. Except I bet he's all grown up by now, if he is a he and not a she.



That has to be the single cutest thing I've ever seen in my life. Really. And the cute doesn't wear off. You can watch this video thousands of times, and I have.

April said I should watch this one just now, so take a look at the guy singing the puppies to sleep.



Okay. Maybe those two make up for the hideous violence I showed you earlier...

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