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Graceland November 25, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Once, when I was thirteen, a family I was visiting in Memphis drove me past Graceland. Elvis was still alive. Maybe he was home when I went by. Maybe he wasn’t.

I’ve never been back to Memphis.

200 November 24, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Yesterday I hit my two hundredth visit to the gym. This one sort of snuck up on me, as I wasn’t pushing as hard. I’d work out a few times a week there, a few times a week at home. I went to Portland a couple of times and used that gym.

But last week Christine noticed they’d put up a new list of 200ers, so I looked at the count I keep on my calendar: 199.

Then yesterday was 200.

But, as always, their count is one behind mine.

Another Keyboard Story November 19, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

My laptop is 5 years old, but the computer at my desk is even older. It could as many as 9 years old. I could go try to find a receipt, but I don’t feel like it.

It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s a Mac, so I’ve been blessed with not so very many downs. It’s had its hard drive replaced at least once. Given the type of work I do, it’s all still working fine and meeting my needs.

But this morning I dumped a cup of coffee on the keyboard.

I know.

This happened to me a few years ago. So I bought a new (Mac-compatible) keyboard. All was well, I thought, until I hit the key that is used to open the disk drive.

Nothing happened.

And apparently I have one of the only models Mac ever made that does not have some exterior way on the tower to open a disk drive. It relies solely on that one tiny key at the uppermost right.

If there is a disk in the disk drive, I can drag it to the trash. That works fine. But once the drive is closed again (and one wants the drive to be closed), there’s no way to open it up.

Of course, back when I made this unpleasant discovery, I called a Mac dealer or two. It turned out that the particular keyboard that worked on that particular Mac had long ago been discontinued, and the new keyboards were not going to open my disk drive.

Not long after, I happened to be visiting a dear friend who had gotten a new computer. And I noticed, in a corner of her office, a keyboard just like my old one. She gave it to me. I’ve happily used it ever since.

Until this morning.

After I sopped up the mess and tested the barely-wet-at-all-really keyboard, I dragged out the backup keyboard, this keyboard, which I had held onto for just such an [inevitable?] occasion. Now that I have wireless, I think I should be able to transfer most files to my laptop and burn a CD from there if I need to.

Still, what a pain in the ass.

Yet another friend and computer geek has a Mac keyboard that she says is configured like the one I described. She bought it a couple of years ago. Just because it’s configured that way doesn’t mean it will work on a machine as old as mine, but I’ll borrow it to see. If it works, maybe they’re still making it.

Of course, I’m denying that after nearly a decade, perhaps it’s time get a new computer. But it’s so painful, both money- and transitionwise. There are always complications. There are printers and routers and cables involved. Everything has to talk with everything else. Software needs to be reinstalled. I don’t know how to make it all work. (I have a guy, of course, who does, but not technically at my beck and call.)

And, you know what? I freakin’ love this keyboard. I like the feel of these keys. I feel like I’m typing much, much faster. Or at least it sounds like I am. I love that sound.

So why, oh why, can’t it just open that disk drive?

ESDLCNM November 9, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

One of the best classes I ever took in my life I took in the ninth grade: typing. Cheryl and I signed up together, sat together, pounded those loud keys side by side, exercise after exercise. I can’t remember if there was homework involved in that course. Surely not everyone had a typewriter at home.

We had one at home. A manual. I think it was an old Smith-Corona. Very old-fashioned. I used to love to play with it, and I imagine I loved it even more once I learned to type. (Do you remember manual typewriters? The sound of the strike, the feel of the keys, the bell as you neared the right margin, the whack of the carriage return, the ink on your fingers when you changed the ribbon?)

I can’t remember when I got my electric typewriter. I don’t think we were required to type our papers in high school, but maybe by the end, we were. It was certainly in my possession by the time I set off for college. Now, I’m amazed that anyone could get through college without a computer.

After college, when I started working in offices, I was introduced to the IBM Selectric III, and it was practically love at first sight. I could never afford one—they cost as much as a good computer does today. In the long run, of course, it was lucky I couldn’t, as things were About to Change Quickly.

I had to take typing tests for the office jobs, and in those days, I was fairly fast. After subtracting for typos, I could still often test around 90 wpm. On a typewriter. I doubt I could do that today on a computer. The fact that correction has become so easy has had its effect on my—and I’m guessing many’s—initial accuracy.

The point is, I’m basically a touch typist. Once my fingers are on the keys, I don’t have to look at the keyboard to know where I am. Given that everyone uses keyboards today, I figure everyone is a touch typist—but no. Do people take typing courses anymore? Do they teach it in school? I have no idea. Nulliparous, I have no off-payroll, offspringy spy in the school system.

Here I am, back in Portland, on my laptop. My laptop is at least 5 years old. The letters on many of the keys have worn off; specifically E, S, D, L, C, N, and M. As well as a bit of the >. This doesn’t bother me. I know where I am.

It does bother just about anyone else who uses my laptop (usually a houseguest wanting to check e-mail, or maybe a friend in a coffee shop). I have finally ceased being surprised by this and have learned to issue a warning—not that the warning is remotely helpful to someone who needs a map at all times.

I’ve thought about marking the keys with letters, but I don’t like the idea of ink possibly transferring to the screen. Plus, what do I care? Didn’t you people take typing in ninth grade? What’s wrong with you?

Last year Tim got one of those pretty, pretty MacBook Pros with the keyboard that lights up. Those letters will never disappear. I have to admit, I have keyboard envy.

But I don’t need it. It’s icing.

A Compliment, But… November 2, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I recently received this e-mail from a friend relating a dinner conversation with his wife and son (names have been changed [obviously]):

Oh, the looks I got from Zelda tonight at dinner. Scott said, “Dad, the garlic bread is really good, but the crust is a little too crunchy.” Zelda said, “Scott, you should never use but in a compliment.” Of course I added, “Unless the compliment is, ‘Hey, nice butt!’” Scott thought this hilarious. Needless to say, Zelda did not.