Friday, December 17, 2010

Lame Things the Brain Thinks

This is a cross-section view of my brain first thing in the morning and after several hours of Electronic Hell. Just kidding. It's a thing I made to honor my youngest daughter one day when we were not getting along.

A funny thing happened on the way to the store....

Someday I will start a list of the odd things I think of first thing in the morning. Waking up sleep-ridden, mindlessly making coffee, and opening the shades of my office, my brain isn't engaged until somewhere down the line, maybe about the thirtieth cup of coffee.

The morning before last, all I could think of for the first, oh, two hours of being awake was the line "A funny thing happened on the way to the store...." And nothing funny whatsoever had happened on the way to the store the last time I checked. I was so obsessed with that line, I Googled it. And nothing funny ever happened on the way to the store. On the way to the Forum, yes, and on the way to the theater too. But there is nothing funny about American stores at this time of year. They're crowded and parking is a pain.

Thursday morning, the weird thing that was stuck in my head upon awakening was a word: Imatropium. I'm a tropium. It's meaningless. I looked it up. My goofy, sleepy brain got a big kick out of saying it over and over again at 4:30 in the morning! The dumb word made me get up! I had to track it down, because I knew I'd seen it somewhere. And I found it: It's a misspelling of a chemical that I've been inhaling for the past month as part of my post-pneumonia treatment. And I'm not going to look up the chemical, either. I find myself in an obsessive state of mind, and Lord knows where that investigation would take me.

I got stuck in TECHNICAL HELL all day Thursday. Since I had so jolly much time in the morning, being as I woke up before the crack of doom, I decided it was a great time to address some digital technical difficulties. It turns out to have been an utterly insane idea, on all fronts.

First on the list was the satellite company, to whom we just paid a gazillion dollars to have a guy come to the house and "set up the system" for our new enormous flat-screen TV, which is my beloved's long-awaited Christmas gift. Oh, how happy he is! But we needed a new piece of furniture for the TV, because it no longer fits in the old-fashioned, beautiful oak entertainment center we've had for 20 years. And I discovered this proposed new piece of furniture was hideous, as my beloved perceived it in his dear head: a piece of laminated plastic crappola from one of those close-out super discount kind of places. That would mean the monolithic new focal point of MY living room would be the new enormous TV balanced upon a piece of shit. No!

Have you bought what one might call a "substantial" piece of furniture lately? I'll just say that it's more than half our mortgage payment. And then, come to find out, you don't just plug stuff in to an outlet. There now are multiple cables of various types and special surge protectors and "connectivity," and one must have surround sound and that means installing speakers all over our dinky living room, but wait, the surround sound dealy-bob happens to be a piece of crap, in the technician's eyes, and he advises us to retain the fine old HUGE speakers that go with the (now INCOMPATIBLE) stereo, which will have to have its own remote control device, as will the DVD player, because it's ... what? 15 minutes older than the new humongous TV? It will also need its own remote, so here are your three remotes, sir, see ya.

And the first thing that happens after paying this technician, who has been sent to our home by the national satellite company (accessed by an automated 800 number), yes, well, the first thing that happens is that we can't get the DVD player, which is playing the little DVD merrily, to communicate with the gargantuan TV, and so now we can't watch movies.

A simple thing to fix, no? When I called the automated 800 number and finally got to a human being, I learned that the satellite company doesn't "do" DVD players. What about the billon dollars we paid the guy to "set it up"? That was just to hook up the new satellite dish they said we had to have, and make it talk to the new satellite receiver boxes they said we had to have. I made her go talk things over with her "manager" but the answer was the same: Not our problem.

That was my first technical failure. My second took many, many hours longer. I decided, because of some crazy wild hair, to sort out why my computer doesn't recognize my digital camera. After spending all day and all evening sorting it out, I discovered that it's a simple matter of incompatibility between Canon and Microsoft Windows 7. I did find a "patch" on Canon's site and wasted, oh, maybe three hours doing every sort if iteration you could think of, to no avail. So sorry.

In my leisure moments, I idly poked around the computer, looking for reasons why my printer isn't recognized either, why I can't do scans, why I have to go in a back door to get things to print. Alas. No answers readily available there.

So I've spent the entire day attempting to solve difficulties associated with my purchase of equipment that won't even nod at each other let alone communicate. I fired off a couple of snide emails, but what will that accomplish, if their geeky little heads couldn't figure it out and avoid the incompatibilities in the first place? I don't mean to inply that all geeks have little heads. Just the geeks at Canon and Microsoft.

I knew I should have thrown all of this aside in order to decorate our brand-new Christmas tree. Had I done so I would have felt fulfilled as the evening came to a close. Instead, I felt frayed and dog-bitten by the hounds of hell. But a sweet little rain began falling, and I'm warm and dry and I have stuff to battle with even if no one's talking to each other.

If I wake Friday morning obsessing over another meaningless phrase, I'm getting up and decorating the tree.
THIS morning, I gave up trying to sleep at 5 a.m. but without a stupid phrase in my head, praise be. And this is how masochistic I am: I picked up the printout of Canon's camera-driver "fix" and read it again, and I felt my fingers itching to just TRY IT ONE MORE TIME, in case today the "fix" would work when it failed 504 times yesterday.

This is insane behavior, the definition of which is "to do something over and over again expecting different results."

Here's today's happy thought: On this date in 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright had their first successful airplane flight at Kitty Hawk. For some reason, their "insane" behavior, attempting multiple times to fly a motor-driven aircraft, was rewarded with SUCCESS!

Tomorrow, I think I'll address fractal geometry, which I learned all about in the wee dark hours this morning....


TechnoBabe said...

It does seem like a gazillion dollars, doesn't it? Years ago when I watched TV I had a giant plasma TV and surround sound and all the gadgets. That was over five years ago. It does sound like you are having more than your share of technical blind alleys.

Syd said...

I empathize totally. I think of myself as somewhat of an electronics geek, but the hooking up of home theaters to big screen TV's, etc. is a pain in the ass. One evening I stayed up until 3 AM working on some electronic mystery.

If you have a local Geek Squad there or a geeky kid in the neighborhood, it is worth having them take a look. Most teenagers can fix just about any electronic problem these days. And they would be thrilled for some extra Christmas $$.

Melissa Greene, LPC-MHSP said...

I thought I was the only one who got those obsessive thoughts first thing in the morning! Thanks for sharing.

The Bug said...

Oh technology is the BIGGEST time waster! When it's working I waste my time playing solitaire & Facebook games. When it's not working I spend my time trying to fix it. Gah!

Re: the camera - I don't hook mine up to my computer. I just take the chip out & insert it in the little dealio (yes, that's a technical term) & then I can see my pictures. :)

Monkey Man said...

Electronics! Gack! That's what I have a 16 year old son for.

Funny stuff. Did all this happen on the way to the store?

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Fractal Geometry, which is what photography at it's mathmatical core is all about :)

Electronics are a pain, much less of if you have a 12-16 year old to just hand it off to.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Forgot to say, LOVE the sticks and stones art piece! Names will never hurt me :oP

Karen said...

You crack me up, mostly because you are "Every woman" -- or at least me on a regular basis! First, we went through a similar ordeal with the new flat screen TV that is my husband's Christmas present. Thankfully, I have a son who can hook up anything, so he sorted us out. Two remotes only. Second, I had a time finding a piece of furniture, too. Then...for the computer woes. Well, I won't even go there. Fortunately, when I wake up at 5:00 or even 4:30 a.m., I don't have strange words or phrases floating around in my head!

I do have the tree decorated, so it's wrapping time for me!

Merry Christmas, Chris.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Luddites of the world unite!!
And Chris, there is absolutely NOTHING lame about that exquisite powerhouse AKA your brain.

Kim A. said...

I'm short on time today but one thing you can do is go to the local community college and kidnap an engineering student. Seriously, though, the local CC is a wealth of resources. These kids are tech savvy, always needing a few bucks and are better than any 1-800 support line. good luck!


Marla said...

I know this day!! I have lived it many a time and felt myself falling headlong into the snakepit.

I say we all go back to living on the prairie, churning our own butter and having Sunday come to meetin visiting.

Albert Einstein Quotes