The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Feather Ruffling

I am posting this in full expectation of rubbing some people the wrong way. Just try to keep in mind that whatever I write is simply my opinion, nothing more. I have no power to force others to comply and I have little or no influence over those in power.

Let me start with the Ebola quarantine controversy: I am in favor of it. I do not believe the arguments against it. Especially the one that says it would discourage those medical workers who would want to volunteer to go to the Ebola ravaged countries to help control and contain it and to treat the victims of it. Dedicated people will ignore such things for a chance to help.*  My experience with doctors and nurses is this: they are arrogant and smug (nurses being much less so, however, but not free of those attributes). I find them to feel, in general, that they are superior to the rest of us and possibly immune to the afflictions the rest of us suffer. The nurse (Kaci Hitchkox) who is at the center of a quarantine controversy has been ordered by the state of Maine to quarantine herself. This is a mandatory quarantine and she is complaining that her civil rights are being violated. I agree, at this point, that Ebola is difficult to contract but there is much that the general public does not know and has not been told about the disease. For instance, how quickly does the onset of symtpoms lead to the contagion stage? We have not been told. We now know the doctor in NYC wandered about the city; visiting, bowling, and dining in the 11 hours prior to turning himself in at the hospital where he was immediately put in an isolation tent and treated by medical personnel in total protective gear. Yes, we should revere those medical personnel willing to travel to Africa to work with the victims but that does not mean we should ignore the dangers they might be bringing back to the States. And I don't think those medical personnel should feel free to ignore safeguards meant to protect others.

The other gripe I have is the over-emphasis on police who are slain in the line of duty. While I respect those who basically put themselves at risk to protect us from criminals, I do not think their lives are more important than others. There are many reasons why people become officers of the law. One of them is ego, another is the desire to face danger (we call the latter type "adrenaline junkies"). But are these people more important than those they protect? I don't think so.

But what about you, what do you think?

*There are many reasons for this, I call one of them the "altruism ego-boost."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unstrange Bedfollows

 I have often said the following:

You only hear what you want to hear, you only see what you want to see, and you only believe what you want to believe.

On occasion, that gets reinforced by studies. I recently read of one which supports this, though it was more concerned with the conflict than the amity. The division we see more than the cohesiveness we want to feel. Two sides of the same coin, if you ask me.

It is the nature of humans to want to reduce strife in their personal lives. Stress is difficult to live with and studies show that also. The study shows:

Research shows: More and more residential neighborhoods are politically homogenous.

It appears we use political strife as a factor in choosing where we live. Like schools of brightly colored fish, we swim in the same political direction in many ways. But how do we do this? Create like-minded neighborhoods, that is. I think in much the same way we create racially homogenous ones. We do not simply fall in love with a house, we apparently seek out neighborhoods where we expect to live comfortably and peaceably with our neighbors. We do this in a number of ways: we seek the advice (or just heed it) when we begin to think about moving. We consider the demographics of potential neighborhoods and one of the factors seems to be a political like-mindedness.

It's human nature to want to fit in. In spite of all the stories we heard as children that tried to teach us to accept our uniqueness and our rebellious teenage years where we dressed and behaved like our peers while professing our individualism, we really want to just "get along."

Don't you agree?


Monday, October 27, 2014

Things Look Pretty Bleak

 It's hard to be optimistic these days... brazen killings in several places, rampages in schools, and Ebola.

Canada suffered a "lone wolf" terror attack at their Parliament. It appeared to be a kind of "blitz" attack where the attacker gives no warning, just explodes on the scene. He was likely looking to make a big splash with targets highly unlikely to be able to fight back or give him much trouble. I think he didn't didn't expect the reaction by the Sergeant-at-arms. A similar event then happened in New York City when a wacko (also described as a "recently converted Muslim") attacked some cops with an ax. The attacker died after being shot by other police on the scene. Not religion related, two cops were killed in California by a (we've learned) man who had been deported twice.. Also not religion related was the shooting at a Seattle area high school. That one seems almost normal in that the shooter was distraught over losing his girlfriend to a rival who happened to be his cousin. Definitely a violent few days.

Then we have the doctor who returned from west Africa after working with Ebola patients who came down with the disease a week or so after his return and during his voluntary quarentine. A quarentine that wasn't real because, from what I gathered, he engaged in pretty much what I would call a normal routine: visit friends, dine out, wander around the city. A number of things are apparent from this last incident: he ignored his potential for contamination (though he must have known about his colleague contracting this disease), pretty much ignored his quarentine, and endangered his friends and financee along with numerous unaware citizens. Kudos to those who took this seriously enough to impose mandatory quarentine for anyone returning from west Africa... though I think it only applies to those who worked with Ebola patients there.

In a story about the first medical worker to be affected by the mandatory quarentine, we find this:

In the very early stages of Ebola, patients may still test negative because the virus has not yet reached detectable levels in the blood. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it may take up to three days after the onset of symptoms for the virus to reach detectable levels in some patients, prompting repeat testing in some cases.

This nurse is upset by the mandatory quarentine and feels she was/is being "treated as a criminal."

Ms. Hickox, 33, was placed in quarantine under a new policy announced on Friday by the governors of New York and New Jersey. All people entering the United States through Newark Liberty and Kennedy Airports will now be quarantined for 21 days if they had direct contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, even if they show no symptoms of infection. [from a NY Times story]

Any thoughts on how she would have abided by a voluntary one?

Meanwhile, we still have ISIL/ISIS causing trouble in Iraq and Syria and a mid-term election to deal with.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Big Decisions

On November 4th many of us will go to the polls and vote in the general election. There will be many choices to make and most of them will be critical to the future. Will we vote in the best interests of the country? Or will we vote for what is in our own perceived best interests?

We have the opportunty to change the make-up of the Senate. Whether we will or not remains to be seen. We have been inundated with political advertising, most of it lies, and that will continue right up through election day. Why did I say most of that advertising will be lies? Because that is what politicians do. They lie about their records, they lie about their opponents' records, and they lie about what they intend to do once in ((or back in) office. And, yes, you could say "they all do it." So, how are we to make decisions in the voting booth? Who can we trust? I have no idea and I am not about to tell you how to vote or who to vote for. Please do not just vote along party lines if you do not want a single party system of government. If you like the direction this country is going then vote accordingly. Likewise, if you do not like the direction this country is taking, vote Republican. I think we need a Republican Congress with a Democratic president and vice versa.

I can tell you that I will be voting today. I do this because I failed to vote in the primary here back in March. There was an accident on the only road that goes by my polling

I accept that this was my own fault. I usually take advantage of early voting but failed to at the time. This time, I will not take that chance.

I went to Google maps to find out exactly how to get to our new early voting location. It used to be at the County building downtown but no more. It still wasn't clear so I clicked on Directions. And found that Google has really made a mess of what was once an excellent map system. It sent me all over the place and I cannot just copy the directions as I used to do and print them out. Incredibly stupid on their part.So I turned to Mapquest and got something
 not great but more useful. I had a good idea how to get there before and this route is simpler and more rational.

Friday, October 24, 2014

More On Humanity

The title is a pun, a play on words, but it has a lot to do with how I view the world. We aren't very bright... collectively, that is. A few of us are brilliant and we depend on these people to move civilization forward and to lead us.

I got to thinking about this after writing "I Sometimes Think About Important Stuff" because, well, it could be considered both important and stuff. I wanted to expand a bit about the word I possibly coined, "homocentricity", and what I mean by it. It is placing humans at the center of existence, the top of the evolutionary scale, and at one time the center of the universe. Yes, we once thought the earth was the center of the solar system and, since we knew pretty much nothing about galaxies or the universe, the center of the universe. After all, God made this world for mankind, did he not?

Well, we know now that we are but a tiny speck of rock and dirt and water in the humongous thing we call the universe. In fact, we have learned we are a tiny speck in our galaxy. We have yet to learn if we are unique in either our galaxy or in the universe. But we want to, don't we?

Not everyone believes that our planet is unimportant. Some of us seem to believe that the planet is a mere 6000 years old and the bible's story of its beginning is absolute and true. All that stuff about it being 5 billion years old and once populated by dinosaurs is scientific trickery or error. There is even a private museum in San Diego dedicated to that "young Earth" concept. I don't give much credence to that young Earth belief but a goodly number do. I don't wish to ridicule those who believe such. I don't wish to ridicule anyone really but sometimes I do so inadvertently.

I think that our religious heritage is behind that homocentricity I mentioned. That makes it hard to shake. I think science went along with it... adopted it, you might say... because of pressure from the religious hierarchy that wielded great power for most of civilization's existence. You want to avoid shouts of heresy? You want to avoid torture and forceful re-education? Incorporate the idea that we are unique and superior into science.

When I was a young child being taught/programmed to be a good and useful citizen, a teacher once talked about the dinosaurs and why they went extinct... At the time, the working theory was that the planet's climate had changed (an Ice Age) and the dinosaurs couldn't adapt. That theory has changed to the "a large meteor did it" theory. But I went looking into the age of the dinosaur and learned that it lasted millions of years before they went extinct. Humans, by contrast, had only been around several hundred thousand years according to the understanding at the time. I decided that the teacher was full of hooey and, extrapolating, I figured all teachers were not really experts on anything except possibly the subject they were teaching. Thereby setting me on a pattern of assuming authority was usually wong or misinformed. This did nothing for me in terms of scholastic achievement and possibly hurt my chances for greatness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Is Time?

If time were not a moving thing
And I could make it stay
This hour of love we share would always be

There'd be no coming day
To shine a morning light
To make us realize our night is over

["It's Over" - Jimmie Rogers]

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

["Time In A Bottle" - Jim Croce]

Time, to me, is a river down which we all float. Caught in the current, we are at the mercy of that river. I was young when I first began to think about time, about the age I first was told about our world (reality) being a three dimensional one. I decided, just about that time, that it wasn't, that it was a four dimensional one and time was that fourth dimension. Think about it: we have height, width, and depth but nothing exists unless it exists for some amount of time. That time might only be a nano-second (or even less) but time must pass for we mere humans to perceive it.

We don't think much about it, though. Collectively, that is. I am sure physicists and many others do but not so much the average person. We are aware of time, of course, especially when we seem to be running out of it. When we are running late, for example, or as we grow old. And, occasionally, we contemplate the vagaries of time. You get into a traffic accident. If you had arrived at that point on the road, a few seconds later or a few seconds earlier, you might have not been involved except as a witness. A couple of miles an hour slower or faster might have saved you a lot of grief, or just spending a little less (or more) time getting into your car. Stretch those seconds into minutes and who knows?

A fatalist might think it wouldn't matter, that circumstances would wait for your arrival or happen earlier depending on when you arrived at the scene. But I am no fatalist. I do not think our lives are predestined, I think we have some control (call it "free will" if you like) over what happens to us but we cannot predict the future so we may as will not have that control.

I wonder, how many of you have contemplated that paradox of time travel: If you traveled back in time, say 100 years, and killed your grandfather before your father was born... would you cease to exist immediately? If so, then you could not have traveled back in time and killed your grandfather and, therefore, you would not exist. It came to me when I first heard that one that it would be silly to even contemplate killing one's grandfather at all. Maybe by accident but certainly not with intent. But any change you made in the past would eventually alter the future in some way. The further back in time, the greater the impact on the future.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Situational Awareness

 I was driving home from running a few errands and observing the driving habits of a few people as I did so. I'm nosy, ok? It occurred to me that much of the driving experience has been taken away by gadgets and automation.

When I was younger and had received my first traffic citation (for running a stop sign... which I did not do), I ended up in something called Traffic School. I was told by the instructor (a Sheriff's Deputy) that the two worst inventions for cars were AC and the radio. The AC meant you could leave the windows closed (thereby cutting off outside noise) and the radio masked any noise that might have leaked in. I wonder what he would have thought of the gadgets available for modern cars?

As young drivers, my peers and I hated automatic transmissions; called `em "slushboxes" and worse. I thought they took much of the "feel" out of driving a car. Now, of course, I love the darn things... you get lazy in your later years.

But look at the array of options available these days, lane warnings, proximity alerts, and rear-view cameras. And, of course, we are moving toward driverless vehicles: just put in your destination and sit back. As I watched people pay no attention to the vehicles behind (and, sometimes, alongside) them, I wondered if the new gadgets would make things even worse. Perhaps not, perhaps they are needed because it is clear that drivers are not attentive.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Government Sucks... Obviously

A Saturday Special

I was reading this last Thursday morning and a thought came to mind. Some morning thoughts don't last or make much sense even at the time but this one seemed to. One of the things Stossel wrote was:

The Constitution's limits on government power helped create the most free and prosperous country on earth.

I must take issue with that. It could have helped but I think we could (probably would) have turned out just as powerful and prosperous if we had become a dictatorship. I know, not orthodoxy. But what's the point of having a brain if one cannot think "outside the box", as they say? In the past few millennia there have been many great and prosperous countries. Greece, Egypt, Persia, Rome, Russia (under the tsars), France, England, India, and many more. None of them were as as free but they still managed to become great and prosperous nations that built huge empires.

One thing that I think is important to remember as citizens is that government always tries to assume more power and that, I think, is what Stossel is really complaining about in this piece. That we have relatively greater freedom than most countries today, or pretty much any in the past, is not truly relevant to attaining greatness or prosperity. We were not all that powerful and prosperous until late in our history. We were pretty much ignored by the rest of the world. Understandably so, I think. We had to go through a period of expansion and consolidation of our own before we could expand beyond our own borders.

The issue I think is important today is: How much of our individual freedom are we willing to cede in order to remain great and, possibly, prosperous?

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Sometimes Think About Important Stuff

... in addition to the silliness that crops up in my brain. You might recall that I once described humans as parasites. Well, I haven't changed my mind about that. I did, however, run into this which doesn't confirm (or deny) my premise but which concentrates on our collective, let's call it, homocentricity. By that, I mean we place ourselves at the top of the evolutionary scale.

The author makes a compelling, and quite obvious, argument that the only reason to place us at the top is because we made the ladder in the first place. That is, we humans are the only ones who seemingly know or care about evolution. I called the author "Captain Obvious" for positing that. He is right that each species (extant or extinct) is pretty much unique in its approach to life and that this should tell us we are not unique among all fauna. We just think we are and we teach that to our children so that they, too, will believe it.

But what about my positing that we are simply another parasitical species? I think we are. And I also think we aren't anymore intentional in doing harm to our host than any other parasites. Yet, we do cause harm. One of the harms we have done is cause the extinction of a number of species. Nature has us beat on that, however, having wiped out huge numbers of species in various ways, sometimes relatively quickly and sometimes over huge spans of time. But never mercifully. In fact, humans might be the only species to actually care about the extinction of any animals.

Of course, that might just be because we seem to be the only animals to have a capacity to care about anything. Other animals might care about something beyond personal survival but how would we know?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just Some Thoughts

Let me start off by reminding you that I consider myself atheist. Many of you already know this about me. Many in my family (related by marriage or blood) do not know this about me. But let me straighten something out about my "brand" of atheism. I am not offended by religion and I do not fear it. I sometimes fear the intolerance of the religious fanatics... like the ISIS/ISIL wackos. I suspect that they and I would not get along well. I do not want "in God We Trust" taken off our currency nor do I have a problem with the Pledge of Allegiance (even though I learned it before the words "under God" were inserted into it). Well, other than having children mindlessly recite it, that is. Study that pledge, read the words, understand the promise inherent in it. It is an oath of fealty to a piece of cloth and the nation which it represents. It is, to me, indoctrination. Understand that I now, and have since I enlisted in the Navy in 1965, believe in that oath with all my heart. I also consider myself a conservative though I have, of late, wondered if libertarianism isn't more my style.

I have a few friends who are self-professed liberals. I find them to be, in many instances, hypocrites. They complain about African-Americans, about Jews, about Mexicans (and other Hispanics), and do not hesitate to use derogatory terms and the associated stereotypes. I have known many liberals who behaved in the same manner when I was young and thought liberal thoughts while living in California. I dismissed the non-orthodoxy for many years until I felt I couldn't any longer. My first wife began calling me conservative and meant it as an insult. She was also one of those hypocrite-liberals, having used a number of stereotypes over the years we were married so I pretty much ignored it. I had learned, some time before, that insults only hurt if you let them.

There are many things I do not understand. On the other hand, I also think I am pretty smart. This is not contradictory. I think it is pretty normal, in fact.

One more thing: It seems like nude photos of celebrities have been hacked and these photos are being posted on public websites. The celebrities are understandably upset. However, who posted such photos in the first place? Who took them or had them taken? I won't go into the contradiction involved in flaunting one's beauty for profit and then being upset over having it revealed...

So now you know more about me than perhaps you once knew. At least I hope so.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blank Slates and Children

The past few weeks, I have been seeing ads for Khan Academy. I have no problem with the academy or its goals. I do, however, have a problem with the structure and tone of its ads.

The opening line is "No one is born smart" and then goes on explaining how Einstein had to learn to tie his shoes or the alphabet and so on. It's true, we must learn these things and much more. Because we can be born smart but we are not born with the knowledge we must have to live and function in this world.

In fact, a great many people are born smart. There is a vast difference between being smart and being knowledgeable. I have talked about this before. I believe that we are born with a finite ability to learn; some have more potential than others but we are all capable of learning. As soon as we are born, we begin our learning. I like to think of it as "human programming." That is, we start out as blank slates; like a new computer. It can perform basic functions but it must be programmed (taught) to do the things we want it to do. How do we "teach" the computer? We install programs. We tell it who we are, we give it a name, we remove programs the manufacturer thought we would want and install other programs that we do think we'll need and use.

We do much the same with children. We teach them right and wrong, we teach them the ABC's, we teach them numbers, and we teach them to read so they can teach themselves. Reading is the "bootstrap" program of life, in my opinion. With that skill, you do not really need someone to teach you anything more. I learned to read about age six. I was already reading a bit before I was formally taught and, yes, I had those silly "Dick and Jane" books but it was comic books that made me want to read. I wanted to know what the words in the balloons above the characters heads meant, I wanted to understand why the pictures showed what they did and I understood that those words, that jumble of letters and spaces would provide that information.

We spend the first 4-5 years of our lives being programmed in how to function in the company of others. Our parents are primarily in charge of that programming. I believe that period of our lives is where we the foundation for our lives is created.

And I am offended when I seen and hear an ad that claims we are stupid at birth. We are not. But, like the ad eventually reveals, we can learn just about anything.

Friday, October 10, 2014


The other day I watched some news commentary where someone pontificated on the migration of people from the northeast into the southern states. Among the reasons these people gave for moving was the higher taxes and cost of living in the states they came from. Weather was another obvious factor, of course.

Now, I have lived in a number of states. I watched the changes in southeast Florida over the years as the migration occurred there. What I saw was that these folks mostly tried to change the state into what they left but with better weather. High-rise condominiums, higher taxes, demands for more services. I didn't understand it; they visited the state, liked it enough to uproot themselves and their families, and then proceeded to try to change it into what they had fled from. It led me to believe that people really are stupid.

A lot of people miss the familiarity of "home" and that is behind some of this. And, I suppose, it is normal to want to recapture the things they liked back "home" but they do not realize that most of those things eventually led to the conditions they didn't like back there.

It was a topsy-turvy world I found myself in down here. The conservatives in the south in the Fifties were all Democrats while the progressives were Republicans. The Democrats were opposed to integration, for example, and had encoded that into law. When a Republican got into office, he tried to change that. Granted, most Democrats at the time in the south were "Blue-Dog" (fiscally and socially set in their ways and voted along party lines). These jumped to the Republican Party as integration grew. I think it is fair to say that this was the driving force behind the political changes in the south in the Seventies.

But I realized at the time that segregation in the north was just as strong, it was just not encoded in law. It was, as the Court said, "De Facto" rather than "De Jure." I think that actually made it harder to change. Even today, I see bigotry all around me and the people exhibiting it call themselves "liberal" or "pretty liberal." They all came from northern states but talked like "born and bred" southerners, especially when it comes to race and sexual orientation. And they often, if not always, vote Democrat. I just do not understand it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Theory Arises

I received an email from Malwarebytes last Saturday telling me (and thousands of others, I'm sure) about some malicious ransomeware hidden in advertising that exploits something in Flashplayer. As I read the linked article, the theory developed in my meager brain. We are at their mercy!

That's right, we are at the mercy of the very software we use to protect us. Yes, we are also at the mercy of those hackers who think up, code, and plant this malware but also at the mercy of those write the anti-virus and anti-malware we use. I actually began formulated the basis of this theory a long time ago when I began to suspect that it was possible that the anti-virus software people might be creating the very threats they were claiming to protect us from. Think about it: Who knows computer viruses better than those who build anti-virus software?

Don't misunderstand. I think we need to have anti-virus software but I wonder just how effective it really is? Or maybe I am just being a tad too paranoid.

Monday, October 6, 2014

More Inane Sayings

I was reading the comics the other day. This is something I do each morning, it starts my day off with a little humor... something I think we all need but do not get enough of. There is wisdom in comic strips and not merely a few lessons to learn. One of my favorites is a strip called "Pickles" which tells the tales of an elderly gentleman named Earl, his wife Opal, with a grandson and a daughter making the occasional appearance. The interactions between Earl and his grandson are some of the best strips.

Anyway, the strip was this one:

And it got me thinking... I posted something not long ago about phrases we use without thinking about the words in them and I did not mention the one used in the strip. But think about it... does anyone actually can anything? No, of course not, we put them in jars and cans of things are bought at a store after being made in factories. It's also called "putting up preserves" but that isn't efficient to say. Instead, we call it "canning" and everyone, generally, understands what we mean. I suppose we could have called it "jarring" but I think that means something else entirely. But you might say I was jarred by the mention of canning.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fear! Uncertainty! Doubt!

... My work is done here...

At least, that's how the old joke went. But, today, we have all three of those wrapped up in a disease called Ebola. Just a day or two after the CDC called the chances of Ebola appearing in the States miniscule, we have a man in Dallas who has it and is exhibiting symptoms. He was misdiagnosed at a hospital and sent home, thereby having contact with many people while being symptomatic. The last count I heard on the news is 100 people are in voluntary quarantine (told to stay in their homes and not have visitors) and being "closely monitored", one hopes that this means there is someone watching each of these homes carefully and making sure no one leaves ("just to run to the store", for example) any of them and that no one drops by and enters. But we do not know this is fact, do we?

I understand the patient (now in isolation at that hospital) did not tell the truth at the airport in Liberia and so was permitted to board and fly to Brussels where he changed airlines and flew to the US. In all, he flew on three planes (at last count): from Liberia to Brussels, from Brussels to New York, and then from New York to Dallas. All of those people on those flights should also be monitored, I would think. And, indeed, the airlines are attempting to contact them. That would be hundreds more in addition to the 100 in Dallas itself.

I think the man lied so he would be allowed to fly out of Liberia and I wonder how many more passengers have lied since this outbreak began?

This is not a Good Thing.

Avoiding Tragedy

I just read an article in our local paper about a 16-year-old girl who died from injuries after being struck by a car this past Monday evening. The story left me with some questions...

The road she was walking along snakes around a bit and never actually goes east (though that was reported in the story), it goes south-southeast then turns to go slightly northeast. There is one section that probably is directly eastbound and it is just after a curve to the right.

She was walking on the right side of the road in the same direction of traffic (which is a no-no everywhere) with her boyfriend (who was to her right) and was, according to the story, on the "roadway near the side of the road." There are no sidewalks along this road but there is adequate room on the grassway alongside. It was dark (sunset occurred a little after 7PM and the accident happened at 7:55)

In my opinion, this could have been avoided by walking on the correct side of the road (facing traffic) and by being completely off the asphalt. Yes, sidewalks could have helped but we don't have many of those in Florida.

And now a young girl has lost her life.

I see people walking the wrong way, and on roads rather than alongside them, as well as people on bicycles on the oncoming side of the road (a violation of traffic laws) and do not understand it.

I was taught to walk on a sidewalk and, if there wasn't one, to walk facing traffic and to not be in the road at all. I was also taught to ride my bicycle on the right (with traffic, not against it).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Toys And My Brand Of Luck

I took a few plunges recently. I ordered a new tablet, replaced my backup software, and bought a new phone. And chaos ensued... as it often does for me.

I was getting emails from Carbonite telling me my subscription was about to expire for my laptop. So, on Saturday, I decided I would switch to another company, I-Drive, and purchased the software subscription. It covers all computers in the house for one fee (a much lower fee than Carbonite) but, of course, it required installation after download. And that is when the chaos first happened. In the midst of installing the software on Faye's machine, we lost access to the internet. Not a big problem since I had already downloaded it but an annoyance because it required some interaction with the website... and the cloud.

Eventually, all was well. Faye's, Francis', the laptop, and even the Toshiba tablet had the software installed and running. Initial backups were run on the laptop, my machine, the tablet, and Francis' machine. Feeling exceedingly proud of myself, I thought I was prepared for anything. I did not count on Murphy and his laws.

Yesterday, I bought a new cellphone. It runs Win8. It worked fine except I needed to replace my SIM card with a smaller one after cloning all my contacts to the new one. For that, I went to the local ATT phone store. Ten minutes later, they had the new phone working just fine. I still had to make it work with my Focus. For that, I turned to the salesman at the Ford dealership who sold us the Lincoln. 5 minutes after getting there, the phone was paired, Bluetooth-wise, to the Focus. All was going just fine. I arrived home feeling on top of things.

The doorbell rang. It was the arrival of the new tablet. No problemo, I thought. and it wasn't... except that the Getting Started booklet neglected to tell me how to shut it down (booting it up was easy), nor how to configure the cabling for the charging unit, and I learned that Win8 is different than past versions. Very different.

I also needed updates to bring it up to the more stable version 8.1. That's when we lost the internet again... as I was looking at the manual for the device. Silly me, thinking Comcast wouldn't screw up my internet connection at this crucial point in time. Of course it did. So, I went to dinner with friends (as we do on Tuesdays each week) leaving the new tablet powered on and Faye's machine running its initial backup. Two hours later, we had the internet back and I downloaded the manual for the new tablet but Faye's backup was only 30% complete so it will be running all night (at least till midnight anyway). Woke up this morning to find something had gone wrong and it still wasn't quite finished.

Tomorrow things might be relatively normal around here... but I doubt it.