Sunday, April 21, 2013

The End of an Era

It finally happened a few weeks ago. The beginning middle end of the end.

When I had just finished college, and I realized that I no longer had the ability to use internet with a connection that didn't involve dial-up, I decided the time had come for me to finally break down and buy a laptop. I had a bit of money, so I went to a store and picked out a mid-range HP laptop with a sizable hard drive, 4GB RAM, and a CD/DVD burner. To make matters even better, it had a spot for you to plug an SD card RIGHT INTO THE COMPUTER. This was living it up, and I was a very happy girl. I took the laptop home and promptly wrote a very crappy novel on it during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

That was nearly seven years ago.

My new laptop was running Windows Vista, though, so there were some problems. Windows Update was a nightmare, there were warnings every 30 seconds asking me If I Really Wanted to Open Internet Explorer, Was I Sure, and Just In Case, Did I Want to Change My Mind Before It Was Too Late? I found a fantastic tutorial, learned Windows Vista inside and out, turned off all those ruddy warnings, and made Vista run more like XP, which was a very functional form of Windows that I am quite fond of.

Years passed. My laptop was lovely.

Around Year 3, the cooling system of my laptop wasn't working all too well...and the battery wasn't holding a charge because the fan had to run so very hard to keep the whole computer from overheating and shutting off.

After a bit, someone on Twitter clued me in, and I saved myself a good chunk of money by not buying a cooling dealie for the laptop. Instead, I used a cooling rack from the kitchen. It worked brilliantly.

I was still using it ages later, when the inevitable happened. After five years, the laptop finally came into contact with the ground.

I didn't drop it. But I had sat down on the bed, where the laptop was sitting (on the cooling rack), and the shift in weight caused the cooling rack to tilt, and the laptop dropped off the bed and onto the floor.

That was when the DVD drive stopped working.

Also, there was an incident with buttermilk that made my speakers a bit less than ideal.

And the hard drive was full, so I'd bought an external hard drive for my photos and documents. And then I bought another for my iTunes library.

And even still, in the last two years, there developed a bit of a lag with the keyboard. I'd type a sentence, and then another sentence, and then the rest of the paragraph, and when I'd moved on to the next paragraph, the first few words would finally appear on the screen, quickly followed by the rest of the paragraph. It was only about a 30 second delay. Not that big of a deal, really.

But finally, a few weeks ago, it got much worse.

See, I had to keep the laptop plugged in, because the battery would die if I didn't, as the fan had to run as hard as possible just to keep the whole thing running. And for some reason, the plug wasn't working so well...

I mean, the cord worked. The cord was fine. It was the part of the laptop, the port in the side where the plug went in. For whatever reason, plugging in the cord, it didn't make a difference. The little blue ring around the port, it didn't light up so well anymore. I would have to turn the cord around inside the port to make the blue ring light up.

A week passed, and it wasn't just something I could solve with a little wiggle of the cable. Nope.

By last week, I had to spend 15 to 20 minutes messing with the cable to get it to connect and stay connected. And I knew the time had come.

So yesterday, I bought a new laptop. It works. I'm utterly shocked. I have no idea what to do with a working laptop. It's another HP. I read all sorts of reviews online, and this one was well liked by all. It has a massive hard drive, 6GB RAM (that can be expanded to 8GB), and it is quite an improvement. It hasn't died once, words appear as I type them, and even though I haven't tried it yet, there's a DVD drive over on the side here that seems willing to accept a DVD and maybe even play it.

I don't even know how to deal with this.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bad Preservatives. Bad, Bad Preservatives.

I did not die of mayonnaise.

That being said, the idea of a mayo that can last for over two years beyond its official expiration date is troubling. It's been over TWO YEARS since that mayo should have gone around the bend, but it didn't. It was still edible. And that brings up a question...

What did they PUT in that mayonnaise?

Traditionally, mayo is eggs, vinegar, and oil. By slowly whisking these ingredients together, one creates an emulsion, which is an awesome chemical reaction that is also delicious on BLTs. That being said, eggs spoil. Usually, they spoil horrifically, and are very dangerous.

Eggs can kill you.

Eggs can make you wish you were dead.

That means there's bound to be something in that mayo that keeps the eggs from killing people. And I can guarantee it's a chemical with an unpronounceable name that will last even in the case of nuclear holocaust.

It makes mayonnaise the cockroach of condiments.

So maybe, instead of worrying that spoiled mayo will make me sick, I should be wondering if ALL mayo will give me cancer, or slowly pickle my organs so that when I actually die, people will only notice I'm dead because I stop buying yarn and sweet tea.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bad Mayo. Bad, Bad Mayo.

Today I consumed mayonnaise with an expiration date of November, 2010.

Lots of things go through your head when you eat a sandwich covered in a condiment that is well over two years old. You think, "Why didn't I LOOK before spreading this on my sandwich?" You think, "How did I TRUST a condiment from a refrigerator shared by every library employee?" You think, "Gee, I hope this afternoon has more to it than just me waiting to throw up. Or die."

Can you die of mayonnaise?

I suppose we're about to find out.

When I was eating my sandwich (ham and Swiss), I thought that Dijon mustard tasted awfully acidic. I kept telling myself that maybe I'd not spread it as evenly as I usually do, so I was getting more mustard than usual in the mustard-to-sandwich ratio I prefer. But no. That acidity was probably millions and millions of angry little bacteria, which are now descending into my digestive track fueled by their desire to live and the rage caused by being trapped in a jar of mayo, unable to grow and spread, for over two years.

Right now I'm trying to figure out whether this dyspepsia I'm feeling is related to thinking my sandwich is poison or my sandwich actually being poison.

Food poisoning is such a sucky way to die. I was hoping for something epic, like falling off a mountain, or tripping over my own foot and triggering a Rube Goldberg-esque chain of events leading to my subsequent demise. But no. Instead, I will expire with my face in a toilet, losing my sandwich as I lose my life.

But do you know what the really sad part of all of this is?

My mayo-sandwich death won't even make a decent Youtube video.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The World's Most Horrific: Why We Should Be Afraid of Nature

Thursday night, I came home from work, I opened up Pinterest, and I saw something so terrible, no one should ever have to see it, let alone think about it. It was a picture of a child's skull (that's bad enough), but a section of bone had been removed so that one could see the adult teeth above the baby teeth, and there they were, teeth sitting in what looked like giant bone-pores, existing in a place that defied logic, and generally ruining teeth for me for the rest of my life.

Seriously, I am glad I've run out of teeth to grow, because I'd have all the potential teeth removed right now. It was awful.


You want to see?

No you don't.


Well...if you insist. But don't come crying to me later on. Here it is.

Unspeakably horrible. It was so bad, I almost threw up on my computer right then. Of course, it was far too horrible for me to touch my computer with the picture still showing, so I ran into The Brother's room and he came back to my room and closed the window for me. Naturally, he mocked me mercilessly, but then I saw the picture again and retched, which was enough for him to know that This Was Serious and one Should Not Laugh About It Anymore.

Unfortunately, I had to re-open the teeth picture window so I could make sure it never appeared in my Pinterest feed again. And then I had to see it again when I gave you that link up there, and I almost threw up for a THIRD TIME, this time at work, so you owe me one.

I have a problem with holes with things coming out of them, apparently, because this is not the first thing of that sort that has terrified me, and really, growing teeth are only freaky because it reminds me of That Other Thing.


I love toads and frogs, they are awesome. Frogs are really neat, and I love it when a frog of the tree variety chooses to cling to our windows in the hot and humid Indiana summer, only to slowly slide down the glass because it is too wet for his (or her) little froggy feet to cling. I rescue toads I find in inopportune places (like too near the road) and put them in the garden so they can grow fat and happy.

But one day, in Biology class, our teacher was absent, and we were shown a video. The video was about a specific river in South America, and it showed all the biodiversity of the river, and was all around a cool sort of video, until the narrator introduced me to a certain species of toad that has its babies hatch OUT OF ITS BACK.

Yes, that's right. The Surinam Toad, scientific name Pipa pipa. Seemingly sent from Hell to visit torment upon unsuspecting observers, the P. pipa has found a way to take care if its offspring without actually having to pay attention to them. It lays eggs, the eggs embed themselves in the female frog's bag, and then, just when you think it can't get any worse, you're sitting in biology class watching fully-formed tiny toads using little hands to drag themselves out of gaping holes in the mother frog's back.

That is just unacceptable. That's all I have to say on the subject. It is utterly and completely unacceptable. If you really want your eggs inside you, be a mammal for crying out loud.

I sat in Bio, watching in stunned silence. When the video was over, I gathered my things, left class, went home, and had violent nightmares about the backs of toads and living toad babies popping out of MY skin for...well. It's been about 14 years or so.

The worst part is, once you see the toad, once you REALLY see it, you see things that remind you of the baby toads EVERYWHERE.

Like, say you're watching TV, and they decide to record video of a plant growing out of a seed. Then they play it, all sped up, and you look at the TV and see a plant, except what you really see as the baby plant comes out of the seed is TOAD BABIES.

The Brother told me, after I recounted to him the Story of the Toad Video on Thursday, that I should just forget about those toads, because they live in Africa and they aren't all that populous anyway.


They live on the SAME LAND MASS as I do, PLUS they are not endangered, not threatened, and are actually classified in the "Least Concern" column. So I do really have a reason to be afraid. I think these toads are as common as, say, LOBSTERS, and you all know how I feel about lobsters.

Nature is going to kill me. And I really like nature. But nature is scary. Lots of things happen that shouldn't happen, and PLUS, things are out there that are way bigger than us and think we'd be nice and crunchy, if they could only get their claws, jaws, tentacles, or talons around us. Basically, run. And don't stop, because before you know it, someone will have flushed their pet lobster or baby-back toads down their toilet because when is a baby-back toad ever cute in the first place? And then they will be living in the sewer system in the cities as well as out in tropical places, which are supposed to be beautiful and sunny and not at all frightening, but ARE, because where else but the tropics can you find baby-back toads AND lobsters just a short walk from your hotel room? And the lobsters and baby-back toads will grow in the sewers and become like those giant rats, and then it will be just like Godzilla, only with BABIES COMING OUT OF ITS BACK.

The way I see it, only the moon is safe right now, and even then, we'll have to search the space shuttles very carefully to make sure there aren't any tiny frogs clinging onto the underside of the control panel or lobsters scuttling across the cabin floor, because then these creatures will be in space too, and we may as well give up.