scatter and clutter

1 02 2010

Do you ever look at Victorian styled rooms and think “how in the fuck did they fit all that shit in one spot????”

That’s pretty much my view on decorating.  Clean, simple, classic.  I dislike clutter very much.

You wouldn’t know this if you were to walk into my bedroom right now.  Yes, it does double as my home office and triple as my hackerspace.  Two walls ARE filled with bookshelves.  Yes, this is all true.

But I’ve been taking this “vertical storage” idea and seeing what I can do but now it’s turned into “all my shit is hung on the wall.”  Tim Gunn would say “think about how you edit.”

But Tim, this wall is for our Etsy inventory, office storage and Shaun’s hats.  This one is for circuit boards that aren’t in use and the Circas that hold my discography.  That wall is floor to ceiling bookshelves.  The wall behind you is where our headboard, TV, night stands and motherboard art go.  In the corner is my desk, my 3 computers (there are more in the house that aren’t mine), the printers, and hardware storage.

Any brilliant ideas for how to make my room less ADHD?





Best Buy guy

19 01 2010

I probably need to just start a series on idiocy.

My last few posts have been about people assuming other people are idiots for various reasons and I totally forgot to blog about the guy that started my whole rant & rave episode.

I hate going to Best Buy.  There’s a problem with that though – they have good shit for good prices and sometimes you need good shit without waiting for New Egg to ship it to you.  I hate GOING to Best Buy.  Let me say that again.

There are plenty of reasons to hate going there, including:

1. It’s always too hot in there due to them running 500 TVs at once.

2.  You have to walk through aisles of movies, video games, and CDs to get to the computer stuff.

3.  The young, male “support staff” need some more fucking training.

They think that because they play Halo and once helped their mama hook up her cable modem that they are THE SHIT and the electronics world should BOW DOWN.  The only place worse for a female to go is Radio Shack.

The reasons to go to Best Buy include:

1.  Good shit

2.  Good prices

3.  You get your good shit right away

I always, always, ALWAYS do my shopping online before I go to the store to minimize the “have you ever seen a falcon punch in real life?” effect that the store has on me.

Now I am unmistakeably female.  I has boobies and a cute haircut and big blue eyes and teeny, tiny little hands and feet.  I am well aware that I’m a girl.

Having a vagina has absolutely nothing to do with my knowledge of computers or electronic related thingamabobs.

Right?  OK, let’s go to Best Buy.

I walk back to the computer section needing a hard drive. There is a young man, probably early 20s back there helping customers who need to know things like “do I have to subscribe to the internet?”

BBG: Hi, can I help you find something?  (He takes in the fact that I am unmistakeably female and cute at that.)

Me:  I’m just looking for the hard drive section.

BBG:  Let me show you where they are.  What kind of computer do you have? (I can’t tell if he means laptop or desktop or if he’s looking for a brand name.  I figure he means desktop or laptop because that’s the major distinction if you aren’t looking for an external drive.)

Me:  It’s a desktop. I need an internal drive.  I assume they’re on the same aisle as the external drives, right?

BBG:  What kind of computer is it though?

Me:  A custom built gamer.

BBG:  ….  but who made it?  You know like Dell or Gateway or…

Me:  My dad and I did.  It’s about 6 years old but the ASUS motherboard was top of the line when we built it.  I just need two 500G hard drives because I’m converting it into a server for my home network.  Both will run as slaves to the current drive, so I only need the drives themselves.

BBG:  (stares at me like I have suddenly burst into show tunes while simultaneously showing porno mags to random strangers.  The military calls this the “shock and awe effect”)  … so you know what kind of drive you need?

Me:  Yes.  I need to know where they are.  Like what aisle.

BBG:  Are you sure?  There are complicated differences.

Me:  Yes, I’m sure.  I think that other customer needs some help.

At this point, I realize that I have forgotten if I need IDE or SATA and that totally makes me a dumb fuck.  He wouldn’t have known either, but still, it really pissed me off.

Turned out, I left without buying jack shit.  I used the money I would have spent there to buy liquor to bribe my dad with.  Later that night I showed up with the machine, my stack of software, and some liquor and we drank and built a machine.  (Let me tell you – finding drivers for a 6 year old ASUS board is hard as fuck.)  I managed to acquire the two 320G hard drives that I had sold him a little while back so now it’s got 960G of space instead of the intended 1TB of storage like I’d intended.

I’m pretty sure I’ve got 40G worth of flash sticks around here anyways, so it all worked out.  And really, how much storage does a girl really need?





pressing all the buttons at once never works

17 12 2009

Have you ever said that to someone?

You know what I mean – you’re watching someone get frustrated with a computer and they slam their hand down on the keyboard or randomly start pressing keys.  You know they aren’t going to magically make it better and THEY know they aren’t going to somehow fix things, but dammit, they’re putting the smack-down on it anyways.

If anything, it’s going to make the computer problem worse and it’s going to make things harder and now there’s a bruised hand in the deal.

People are much the same way as computers.  They have buttons.  When pressed correctly, functions that are useful but may take a bit of processing to run but the outcome is favorable.  Certain buttons cause a self-check.   Some let you look closer at the files and drivers, and some show you programming that’s running in the background.

Profound, isn’t it?

It’s also very true that if you push a person’s buttons all at once (or overplay your hand, if you like poker terminology) then not only are you going to end up with the same ole malfunction, but you’re going to have a bruised hand… and if you hit it too hard, it’s not going to work anymore.

I have a few buttons.  Quite a few.  I don’t react well to having someone slam my buttons because they’re frustrated.  For example…

1.  Call me a drug addict

This one will create instant and intense feedback.  You can accuse me of damn near anything and I’ll laugh it off.  Truth is, I’ve never done an illegal drug in my life and neither has Shaun.  Ever.  I don’t mix meds, I don’t get high, and I absolutely don’t put anything in my body that will endanger the people around me.

Now, I don’t care if you smoke dope or do whatever.  I’m not pushing my beliefs on anyone.  However, I do have children who were exposed to meth production and I’ve counseled many teens with drug problems.  I’ve seen some really shitty stuff while growing up.  One of my friends who lived near me had a step-dad who smoked and grew a lot of dope.  One day she comes home from school to find the front of his face blown off – I heard the scream from my house.  He was still alive, even after wedging a deer rifle up under his chin. I don’t feel too sorry for him – I feel really bad for HER.

This is not to say if you say “bitch, you must be high” in jest that I’m going to knock you down.  I won’t.  However, if you honestly accuse me of doing drugs, I will have some feedback for you.

2.  Tell me I make things up or that it’s all in my head

I can tell the difference between fiction and reality.  Promise.

I once had an entire set of people believing I was a boy, even though I had my gender in my profile and photos of myself online.  I can tell stories but they’re mostly see-through and hardly ever serious.

In my other life (my not a fiction author persona) I’m a good analyst and give you the data without any massaging or glossing.  Do you need a graph?  OK.  A diagram?  Got it.  Those facts aren’t changing just because they’re prettier.

And you better believe that if I’m paying YOU anything, I’m not telling you a lie.  It just makes the job harder and makes it take longer.  When I’M the client, I’m not looking for attention, for money, for fodder for my comedy act, or for whatever deal that we have to last any longer than it absolutely has to.  I want it fixed, I want it over.  I come prepared and I expect service and quality.

3.  Assume that I’m an idiot and/or assume I assume you’re an idiot

Most of the terribly smart people I know could pass as hare-brained, stupid-ass derelicts.  They do this on purpose so people won’t fuck with them like “quick, what’s 182 x 397?”  Bitch, I don’t know.  Go the fuck away – I’m trying to drink this latte and pretend I’m not trying to figure it out in my head.

This just means that I assume every random idiot I meet may just be the second coming of Albert Einstein.  That dude looked a little crazy, too.  If you’re an average, all-American stereotypical person, then good for you.  I’m going to assume you do a good job at your chosen profession because you CHOOSE to.  Doing a good job has not much to do with your IQ.  It has a lot to do with your attitude and your dedication.

In return, I like for people to assume that I’m good at what I do and that I’m not an idiot (even if they can’t tell by looking.)  I believe that I can know a little something about someone else’s profession and still not show disrespect to their skill or judgment.  It’s like I can tell when the wheel on my car is a little wobbly and I can tell you “it seems like a problem with the front driver-side wheel.”

That doesn’t mean I’m saying “I know everything about front driver-side wheel problems and I think you should take a look at the bearings, because this doesn’t sound like a brake problem.”  It also doesn’t mean that I expect you to just take my word for it and just disassemble it without driving it first.  I’m not saying “I just need a grunt to do the dirty work.”  I’m giving you my experience that I think is relevant, now it’s your turn to ask questions to discover information that you KNOW is relevant.

It furthermore doesn’t mean that because my profession line of your profile says “web related stuff” that I went to some Chevy-hater website and learned all I could about common fuck-ups.  I didn’t just look this up on the internet – if I did research its so I can get a feel for what information to present to you from MY experience in a less than idiotic manner.

Why?  Because I heard my dad say all the time I was growing up “and then she said it sounds like GRRRrrrrrRrrrSCRREEEEEAAAACH and then it felt like when the carnival ride is about to time out – you know how it gets real slow and exaggerated before it stops… then later it turned out she had a windshield wiper that didn’t work and a blown taillight.”  I don’t want to be dinner-time conversation and I don’t need everyone in the general area to look at me like I’ve grown a green spike out of my ass.

4.  Tell me that my facial expression is somehow disrespectful

Ok, you self-absorbed little shit, who are you to think my face has anything to do with YOU?  Most of the time this happens, I’ve got a migraine and I’m making the “do you smell that?  I think one of our kids just shat themselves” face.  I don’t know it because my face feels like it’s full of sand and I’m attempting to be part of normal society.

I’m not wrinkling my nose up because you walked by and I hate people who <insert characteristic you’re overly sensitive about.>  I don’t think you smell funny or that you have on stupid looking clothes or that you should rub some conditioner on your kids’ head.  Actually, I would probably think those things if I had it in me to NOTICE you. If you were walking by and you happened to be 700 lbs in hot pink spandex, I may notice you out of the group of people in the area.  I absolutely did not notice your ass who was 15 feet away from the 700 lb hot pink person but in the general line of site.  I don’t care if you were dressed in head to toe Coach patterned anything and had bright yellow cabbage patch hair done up in pig-tails – I swear I didn’t see you.

When in pain, here’s the way things are noticed:

1.  Anything in the epicenter of the pain.  If I have pain in between my shoulders, I’m not wearing a bra because it would damn near kill me.

2.  Anything that aggravates the pain.  If I have a migraine and you walk by smelling like you just bathed in a vat of peach candle scent, then I will notice you and I will vacate the area and leave you to clean up the vomit.

3.  Anything that is shoved into my face so that I’ll notice it.  That’s because people who know me know that when I get the “do you smell that?” face on know that they need to dress up in bright orange and do the chicken dance to get me to pay attention to them.

… and they have to be yelling “CYNDI, did you see that cabbage-patch headed bitch back there?”  Um, no, I didn’t.  What?  You want to take Alyssa to Babyland?  Ok.  Sounds good.  “No, I don’t mean I want to drive to Clermont – I mean did you see that girl with the yellow pig-tails?”  No… what?  Someone did that?

So, for your holiday season, just remember to be nice to your keyboard.  It doesn’t need your frustrated ass banging on it like cops on a screen door.





Drive

8 12 2009

Yes, this is another post about my damn external hard drives.

One in particular – the one that has only 26G of info on it but is going to take me a lifetime to clean up the file structure.  This is what happens when you use a portable hard drive to bail you out in situations of inevitable computer fuckwaddery.  In business terms this is called a “clusterfuck.”  It’s not a good place because someone always ends up with a big toe up their butt.

When you know a computer is about to die – say it sounds like a Toyota with a bad belt (which sounds a lot like a sewing machine) – you should absolutely get all your valuable info onto a backup drive as quickly as possible.

You should however, not name it “shit to file” and then forget about it.  Because… then… years down the road you will have something that looks like:

shit to file 1

shit to file 2

mobile uploads

photos off the old computer 1

photos off the old computer 2

image backup from 2006

Q3 2007 Projects

aa – wallpapers

aa – anime

aa – anime 2

(Yes, I know it’s not alphabetical.  I don’t organize by file name in my head unless you tell me to.)

Here is the part where I whine about naming conventions and how if you don’t use them you end up with duplicate files and lost files.  This new keyboard squeaks though, so every time I hit the space bar it chirps.  So you just fill in the whining.  Deal?

This is the part where I say “if you follow my Flickr page, you’re going to see a ton of old and/or odd shit pop up while I work this drive out.”  Because, yes, it is my photo drive.  If it were my music drive you so totally wouldn’t get to benefit from that.

Music drives are EASY to form a file structure.  It goes BAND -> ALBUM -> TRACKS where ALBUM = Title of the CD [year].  I even have a music drive bibliography in Circa format that references where the CD is stored and which albums I don’t have yet.  (Shaun and I have an extensive collection of underground/independent Christian rock and metal.)  I also have notations of which ones still need to be converted to MP3s and backed up.

So, photo drive, why aren’t you cool like that?  Why do you have no obvious file structure?





is it plugged in?

8 12 2009

The first rule of tech support:  is it plugged in?  Start at the wall and work your way out.

(Shouldn’t the first rule of tech support be not to talk about tech support?)

I should have remembered this.  It’s been forever since one of us makes this hair-brained move but it does happen.  See, it doesn’t matter how l33t you are, you’re going to eventually leave something unplugged.

This time, I was mad at the MyBooks for days because they wouldn’t connect to the old computer.  (The new one had a female adapter problem – none of the firewire or USB ports would work so we traded it for another new one that’s not set up yet.)  They always connected to the old one before!  They worked perfectly!  WTF?

Today I got out my favorite little LED flashlight and started at the wall, muttering about the first rule of tech support.

The power strip is plugged in to the wall.  Check.

The power cable is plugged in to both the power strip and the computer.  Check.

The switch on the back is turned on (our gamer system has a separate on/off switch on the back that overrides the front power button.)  Check.

The firewire is plugged into the MyBook. Check.

The firewire is plugged into the computer.  Check.  Wait – why is it wiggling?  The entire port is wiggling.

I took off the side and realized the problem.

The firewire card was not plugged in… at all.  It was in its little space just hanging around with no screw to anchor it, not even touching the slot its supposed to plug into.

Word for the wise:  If you’re going to take the side off your computer while it’s turned on AND it has a fan in the side panel, keep your hair out of the way.  Not only did I get my hair sucked into the fan while it was running, but it hit my thumb and THAT FUCKING HURT!  It’s just a bit of plastic running at a moderate RPM but it bruised the crap out of my thumb.

So everything is plugged back in and working now.  I can’t find the screw that’s supposed to anchor it, so it’s still a little floppy but at least it’s making contact.

Contact is good.  Now, I just need to find a screw!





Amazingly effective

18 11 2009

It’s amazing how the human body and brain can push through pain.  Through the moments of passing out for 3 hours or hiding under my pillow, I’ve been amazingly productive.  I have to admit that I have plenty of practice at this – I’ve been having severe migraines since I was 10 years old.  This is why I consider disassociation a TOOL and not a DISEASE in people with chronic illnesses.

I imagine it’s like the accounts I’ve read of how soldiers survived and kept their mouths shut during torture and imprisonment.  Wow, that’s a cheerful thought!

Anyways, stuff I’ve accomplished in a fun and numerical way:

1.  Finished the other half of the Christmas stocking for LJ.  Shaun’s grandma made stockings for all her grandchildren and we had someone copy them for A&E (back when we thought we were only going to adopt A&E) the first Christmas they spent with us.  Last year I refused to put up stockings because we didn’t have one for LJ.  This year we will!

2.  Ordered supplies on the internet.  Seriously, getting the best deal online without getting ripped off is hard work.

3.  Put together a pipe accessory kit for our lovely Etsy customers.

4.  Took pictures, edited pictures and listed about 10 things on Etsy.

5.  Went to the fabric store and bought some cute fleece, some micro-fiber for our custom pipe bags, and some flannel & jersey for “fashion” pipe bags.

6.  Got a new computer.  It’s super duper fast and runs photoshop incredibly well, but the firewire ports aren’t working and that makes me pissy because I don’t have access to the servers right now.  I did set up the old computer on a nightstand so I have it to fall back on when I need it.

7.  Joined 2 pipe clubs online.  Somehow, Shaun became one of the most viewed pipe restorers on the internet (page 2 of Google, bitches!) and since I run the internet profiles, I figured I should meet our demographic.  It’s fun to talk to guys though – since I worked for an automotive advertising company for like FOREVER, it’s kind of my niche.

8.  I think I finally had a breakthrough with LJ in regards to our relationship.  It worked out the way most breakthroughs do – we had a major fight and then after we were done screaming at each other, some unabridged honesty showed up.

9.  Moved the birds to my nightstand and away from the window for the winter.  I don’t know if it was grief that her friends had all migrated away or that she was cold and itchy, but Cami pulled out a ton of feathers.  She’s doing a lot better now, but the birds love to torture me when I lay down.  If I don’t give them proper attention before I go to bed, I get pelted with seed and pine shavings all night. For such little birds, they’re incredibly talented at throwing things.  I get revenge by spritzing them with rosewater (alcohol free of course) and yelling RAINSTORM, RAINSTORM, RAINSTORM! in the mornings.

10.  I cleaned the living shit out of the bedroom.  Since I’m in here 24/7 right now due to the headache induced narcolepsy, I figure I should at least make it a pleasant place to be.  It’s kind of hard to tell how much cleaner it is unless you spend a lot of time in here, but it is vastly improved.

In general, un-numerated manner, I also wonder why people recycle circuit boards from computers without thoroughly glazing them with acrylic or glass.  Do they not realize that most of the components are TOXIC???  Yes, it is absolutely a good idea to take circuitry apart without gloves or a mask, cut it, and make candle holders and jewelry out of it.  Can a sister at least get a plastic lamination sheet?  Some diamond glaze?  A thick layer of Elmer’s glue? It amazes me that our government worries about flavored cigarettes being sold legally to adults when equal retards are taking electronics apart, grinding them into toxic dust, and then selling them without a single precaution?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t recycle dead computers into new and useful things, just that there are safer ways to do it.  Raise the price a couple of dollars and buy some sealant.  Put it on thickly enough that the surface is smooth (the microscopic wires easily get under skin and it not only hurts like fuck, it’s not that good for you.)  Just writing that paragraph makes me want to smack the person who caused the label “do not eat” to be put on those rare earth magnets.   Or the Kleenex brand for refusing to use recycled or sustainable paper products instead of rain forests.  Or the goblins that keep stealing the red straws from my Cans’o’Air.

Speaking of that, I wonder if one of those air mattress pumps would work to clean my computer.  Experiment engage!





Lots of work to do, no money to be found

19 07 2009

I know that on Sundays you aren’t supposed to worry about work.  Let it all wait until Monday and just take some time to relax.  Right…

I’d been joking for a few months about going to work at Hooters to get a little extra cash flow.  When the adoption went through, we lost about $1k a month in income because we didn’t want to wait for the special needs waiver to go through on A.  It would have put the adoption off for another 8 months or so and from experience we’ve learned that a lot can go wrong in 8 months.  LJ’s had gotten approved two days before we signed intent to adopt but being A is younger, we didn’t have enough documentation to get the rubber stamp.  It was better to just get the adoption finalized even without getting the special needs care she qualifies for.  We did, however, get federal Medicaid on all the kids until they’re 19 or out of high school.  It covers mental health treatments and that’s what we needed to ensure.

Note to potential adoptive parents:  make sure you get the adoption assistance.  It’s wounding to the pride, but you’re gonna need it and use it.

Back to Hooters.  I found out today that I can’t work there because I don’t meet protocol – tattoos are out of dress code.  Damn, that means I may have to find work where I use my IQ instead of my T&A.

Unless I find somewhere I can flex-work or work part time, work just isn’t a viable option yet.  I say yet, but the truth of it is that I’ll probably never be “cured.”  Shaun has intermittent FMLA leave enacted in his job because the next migraine could literally kill me.  Reading that on paper scared the crap out of me, even though I knew it.  The MVP puts me at a higher risk of stroke, syncope, and fatal arrythmias.  Being the migraines are severe enough to take out my vision and I often can’t keep anything down, dehydration is a major risk.  Not enough blood running through the heart equals regurgitation and syncope.

I want to just scream that it’s not fair.  I’m 28!  I’m one of the smartest, most talented people in the workforce (mathmatically speaking,) I have the will and want to work – but I can’t.  I can’t even lift my head some days.  When I feel like that though, I verbally tell myself to shut up.  One of the kids I went to school with just died from cancer this past week.  He wasn’t one of my friends, but we ran with the same crowd.  Well, as much as a socially-impared art geek can run with a crowd. I’m blessed beyond belief.

I think I’m just feeling older than my age.  Wednesday, I have an appt with the OBGYN to start talking about a hysterectomy.  Friday is Shaun’s and my 10 year anniversary.  September is the 10 year high-school reunion.  I have three kids, ages 9, 5, and 4.  Two of them have PTSD and the laundry list of abuse related and drug-exposure related mental illnesses.  The last one is trying his hand at tantrums, but doesn’t have the stamina to keep up the 4 hour fits his sister is capable of.

The kids keep bringing up in therapy that they’re scared because I’m sick and they don’t want to lose another mom.  I can tell them again and again that it’s just a headache, but they know.  Kids are really good at not accepting bullshit and I’m really terrible at lying.  I don’t believe I’m going to die but I do believe that I’ll probably battle this well into my 90s. I grew up taking care of my mom through the same thing and I’m a productive member of society.

Some days are great and I feel like I did before I got sick… or until the sickness that I was born with caught up with me enough to take me down.  I have energy.  I laugh and smile.  My grammar doesn’t suck.  I have patience and want to conquer the world. I think about another child.

Yesterday was one of those days.  We went out with the kids to thrift stores and antique stores.  We picked up some pipes for Shaun to restore.  I got some $3 keyboards at Goodwill to modify and some clock parts.  We spent the kids’ Toys’r’Us gift card and their McDonalds gift card.  It was beautiful and sunny and great.

This morning was the same way, but a bad night’s sleep and too much caffeine caught up with me around 4 pm.  I got out and cleaned the wheels and chrome on my Durango now that the local road work is done.  I started teaching A how to work the shower since she’s going to start school in 3 weeks.  I took apart one of the keyboards and started cleaning it and sanitizing it.  We had pizza with the big family at Mom’s and the cousins all got to play and we made hand puppets out of paper bags.  I finally gave the digital picture frames back to my dad (one we couldn’t set up without an SD card port… blah) and set up the one for my mom.  I sorted through jewelry with my sister and stole some of her stuff.  The stupid gate at the family’s place was deactivated so we didn’t have to wait to be buzzed in.

Around the time Mom went to church with Grandma, I was a snippy bitch.  I even snapped at my mom.  I snapped at the kids for singing Spongebob’s “idiot friends” song.  I came home and took a bath, finished a stupid book, and tried to steady myself with working on fixing a flatbed scanner.  What I should have done is taken a shot of Zomig.

Now I’m going to attempt to sleep it off after I get Cali cleaned up.  Nola got pissy and and started a fight.  It looks like Cali lost a toenail.  Shaun’s putting the kids in bed and I’ve got the cameras charging so I can download the photos in the morning.

I don’t know who is harder to raise: children or German Shepherds.  They’re all too damn smart for their own good.