Sunday, July 16, 2006

Up and Running

Large view (then click the magnifying glass for this and other enlargements).

A water bottle, a breadloaf-sized mushroom, and thou....

Mary and I spotted this magnificent specimen at around 8:30 on our Friday night walk. We joked that it was really a soft sculpture placed in our neighbor's yard to trick us. I didn't measure it (that would have meant trespassing), but I estimate the cap is at least 8 inches in diameter.

My new (2003, reconditioned) computer arrived on Thursday. I spent Friday setting it up and pretty much went through the night, between security downloads and preliminary studio cleaning, in preparation for hardware surgery on my old workhorse.

Years ago I had performed minor surgery on an even older workhorse, replacing components until I had maxed it out before its modem died. (Mary, who worked years ago as a computer tech, was my guide in this.) That computer had been a Windows 95 system with no USB port, so I couldn't replace the modem with newer fare. Besides, "max" for that model meant 24 megs of RAM and 6 gigs of disk space.

This fix will be more ambitious, since I will have to remove (in this order!) (1) the battery pack, (2) the backup battery, (3) the hard disk drive, (4) the Ultrabay 2000 device, (5) the keyboard, (6) the keyboard CRU insulator, (7) the hinge cover, (8) the keyboard bezel, (9) the fan assembly, (10), the LCD assembly, (11) the front bezel -- and, finally, (12) the inverter card, whose connection I will check first to see if it needs to be tightened. It might simply be loose, given that I've been able to turn my backlight on by giving my computer a few good, hard shakes.

At least, I've been able to do that this week.

If the connection seems fine, I'll replace the old inverter with the new one, currently en route. Then I'll pray very, very hard that I can put everything back together the way I found it.

Before I try anything I will finish cleaning my studio and make sure I have enough room to work with, setting aside the proper cups to hold the proper screws, and keeping my door closed in case the cats want to try anything improper. So far I've reduced my level of chaos to the point where I can see the floor, and where I have a minimum of avalanches waiting to happen.

The replacement inverter will come with a 90-day warranty, but for a $20 part I'm not in any particular hurry. If I perform the surgery within that time frame, great. If I don't, I'd rather be slow and careful than rushed and careless. I'm sure the fix will require a full day's tinkering.

I need to retool the studio as is. I've Got Plans.

When my mother used this as her workroom (it was left as-is in the 20 years between her death and my father's), the room sported two single beds. One had been the bed I'd slept on as a kid; the other had been my grandmother's. They were comfortable, but you don't leave an already-old mattress in Florida for 20+ years without a fair number of wee beasties nibbling its innards away. Comfortable? Yes, actually. Pretty? Puleeze. I got rid of the crappier-looking one, donating the mattress and box spring to the dumpster and the frame to a thrift shop whose sales benefit a camp for troubled youth.

I kept the other bed, thinking that when my Muse went wild I could just plop down a couple of steps away from my desk for a quick nap in-between writing marathons. Or, at the very least, recline with a good book.

No on both counts.

For one thing, when I'm on a roll I don't sleep until I crash in the bedroom. Second, I'm comfortable reading while reclined on a couch. Holding a good reading pose in bed is a challenge regardless of my pillow configuration. A comfy chair would be far preferable.

Third, my studio bed is completely buried in all the stuff that's been crowded out of other parts of the studio.

The bed has to go and file drawers put in its place. Getting this room ready for 'puter surgery is the perfect impetus for a major makeover. And if you think my studio is cluttered, you should see the rest of the house. On second thought....

Though, as Mary is quick to point out, anyone who feels the least bit self-conscious about how their place looks would feel much better seeing the shape of our Clutter Queendom. Which is now minus one onion.

Large view

Mary had discovered a sprouted onion at the bottom of a bag. The rest of it looked ruined. On removing its skin, she found that several layers had oxydized to the point of translucence, equivalent to being cooked, and she could eat them uncooked with no problem. I've posed the onion with an unpeeled companion from the same bag.

Meanwhile, amphibians have been hanging out at the post office.

This green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) was clinging to the wall in back of the PO on Wednesday night.

Large view

On Friday night Mary and I herded this oak toad (Bufo cuercicus) away from the asphalt in the PO parking lot at around 10:30 PM. Here it's hunkered down against the curb.

Weed-whacking is next on tap.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was fun watching it download. I thought "mushroom" right away, but it also begin to morph into other things.

I swear that I like my blog because it's the one thing in my life that organized. You should see what backstage looks like here!

I've tried to write and rest at the same time. Like my cluttered house, it's a losing battle.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I liked the transition from giant mushroom to new computer. There's a poem in there, I'll wager...

11:11 AM  
Blogger Brenda Clews said...

All of the photos are terrific. I incline towards the papery and translucent onions, but that mushroom, what a fairy tale could be woven around it! And the little toads, sweet'ums.

The continuing story of fixing your laptop with a history of your studio and mattresses therein thrown in was captivating!

7:51 PM  

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