Coffee heat rising

STOP THE WORLD!

You betcha I wanna get off!

We’re now into the lunch hour, so I can’t go to the credit union and harass them with the latest screaming crazy-making fiascos. What to do, what to do to fend off losing what few marbles remain to me while waiting to drive across the effin’ city to pester those dear people?

Oh! I know! Write a blog post! O’course! Why didn’t I think of that?

Call up Funny on the big iMac and…and…and…oh yeah. You expected a bear? It wants a password. I enter the one I know. WordPress replies f**k you.

So now I have to jump through yet another series of hoops to generate yet another EFFING password.

You understand: I have a list of passwords that is TWENTY-THREE PAGES LONG! And these days, I can barely remember my name, much less 23 single-spaced pages of passwords.

Problem is, the li’l Macbook DID remember each of the passwords in those 23 pages. So I don’t have a hard-copy list of the effing things. Right now I have a bunch of them, typed and neatly cut out of their sheets of paper, taped to the front of the iMac.

The prospect of getting a new computer to emanate these dozens and dozens and dozens of passwords just makes my brain go blank. I can’t even bear to contemplate the hassle involved!

I need to go over to Best Buy today and extract my MacBook and probably buy a Lenovo laptop. Ugh…how can express the ways I don’t wanna???

But FIRST… oh, yes, first I have to drive ten miles (20, round trip) in the OTHER direction to raid the credit union. It appears that a whole bunch of monthly bills that I thought were being autopaid are no longer being autopaid.

Huh?

Why?

Did I cancel the autopays somewhere along the line?

Why?

Truth to tell, now that I can no longer remember my own name, it’s entirely possible that I did cancel the autopays to the utility companies, probably for good reason. But if there was a reason, I don’t recall what it was, any more than I can remember having canceled them.

What’s my name, again?

So this is going to be a jolly trip.

The credit union staff apparently noticed, the last time some of my marbles rolled past the front desk. When I paid the new yard man $180 for a major cleanup job (the good Gerardo not having shown up for three months…), he trotted over to that very CU and asked to cash it. The boss CALLED ME ON THE PHONE and asked did I really wanna pay this character a hundred and eighty bucks?

Yeah. No kidding. He’s a nice-looking, clean-cut man…not the sort you would suspect of larceny. 😀

Y’know…I’m truly all computer-teched out. GODLMIGHTY but I’m tired of this hassle and that hassle and the next hassle, most of them involving passwords that I haven’t a hope of remembering and all of them demanding involved tergiversations to navigate.

You understand, I’m not at all annoyed about the CU calling to check on just how loony I was to pay New Yard Dude a large chunk of dough. In fact… One thing that would help to keep the Old Bat out of one of those warehouses for old folks would be someone you could hire to ride herd on what you’re getting up to. Especially what you’re doing financially, what you’re getting talked into buying, what you’re forgetting to pay. I actually would pay somebody — cheerfully — to help out with this stuff and advise. An honest somebody, that is…therein lies the rub…

Oh well. Time to get on the road. And so, awaaayyyyyyyy….

 

{sigh} About to Give Up

Welp, it’s four in the morning. Can’t sleep. Can’t get anything done. Sometime after dawn, a tech from Best Buy is supposed to come over and try to fix whatever is wrong with my Mac system. But I don’t hold out much hope.

Yesterday evening BB had a very sweet lady with a Filipino accent call and try to coach me on the phone. This futile activity dragged on for two or three hours.

Guys. If I thought I could fix computer stuff myself, I wouldn’t have paid you $200 for a repair contract!

I have two computers: an ancient iMac — a large desktop that I’ve used as a substitute for television ever since they took free TV away from us, and a MacBook laptop that I use to keep myself entertained during most of my other waking hours. These devices work on a system called iCloud. One of the services provided by Apple is an email system called MacMail, which I use in gay abandon.

Week or ten days ago, the email system went berserk. I do not have a clue what is wrong with it…i are a english major, i are not a IT tech!

I’ve gone around and around and around with this thing. Cannot get it fixed — if anything, attempts to do so make the mess worse. The MacBook is now completely disabled. I write this on an ancient iMac desktop, which I use mostly as a television, because sitting in a desk chair for any length of time causes more pain than you wanna know about.

Trying  to at least stay online with email correspondents, I went over to Gmail. That has gone haywire, too, and now Google won’t let me into that account.

Soooo…. It looks like my blogging empire will soon be dead. Apple’s email system, which keeps me in touch with friends and business associates, is already dead. This may be my last Funny about Money post…if it goes online at all.

Arrividerci, then. Be safe. Be well!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Day from Hell, in the Mode of L.A. East…

Phoenix gets more and more like L.A. East every day. Which is another way to say “a worse and worse place to live”…

***

Driving (…driving…driving…driving) out to the Mayo yesterday, I glance down at the dashboard and see the “low tire” light has come on. Rich people don’t need gasoline and car care, of course, and so there wasn’t a real gas station or garage as far as the eye could see. At the Mayo, their security guy was able to refill the tire with a portable air thingie, and I limped alllll the wayyyyy across the Valley to lovely North Central Phoenix.

Straight to Chuck’s, the beloved mechanic shop I’ve used for years.

Well. It’s no longer Chuck’s. The only thing Chuck-like about it is the name, which the new owner (wisely) has never changed.

The new regime repels all boarders! They tell me to go up to Discount Tire, a chain store with an outlet not far away on Camelback Road.

You never saw so much traffic in your LIFE! And it’s not even rush hour. I have to fight my way up there and then turn in the middle of a block across a torrent of traffic. This entails driving past the shop to a place where I can pull a u-ie — a risky maneuver on that road under the best of conditions — and then pulling into a lot that’s just flat jammed with cars and people standing around.

There, the guy tells me it’ll be a three-hour wait!!! The place was soooo mobbed you could barely creep across the parking lot to get out.

So I figure M’hijito can drive with me back up there, take me to his place or else home, and then drive me back whenever they get the tire on. I’ve forgotten my cell phone (an alien object, in my world), so I can’t call him…have to schlep to his house and tell him this sad tale.

He, being an experienced insurance adjustor dude, says oh hell no! 

Since I always buy my tires at Costco, he knows I can get a better price there, and they may give me a discount, because they warrantee their products.

*******

He makes an appointment: 6:00 p.m. By now it’s around 2:00.

Decide to drive home, let the poor little dog out, and continue on to Costco so as to get there before the tire goes flat again and, with any luck, not end up stuck by the side of the road in even worse traffic. Take the computer to while away the time and start driving driving driving up to the Costco at the freeway and Yorkshire. This, we might add, is a LONG drive through difficult, high-speed traffic.

Actually, they fixed TWO things that had gone wrong with the tire — not only the nail but also the valve, which they said was not in the best of all possible shape. Charge? Ten bucks and change. The appointment M’hijito made was for 6 p.m. Got there around 3:00 and took a seat, figuring to spend the next four hours or so ensconced in their waiting room.

They were DONE at 6 p.m.!!

Hmmm… This morning I see I’ve busted another molar…probably from grinding my teeth half the day. That’ll be another expensive fix. Won’t be able to call the dentist first thing because I have to be at the dermatologist to carve off some more cancerous spots at 9:30. She’s in Avondale, so I’ll have to leave here before quarter to…before the dentist’s office opens.

Got no advice from the new MayoDoc about the lump in the eye…but the usual lecture about the blood pressure, which (for obvious reasons…) shoots into the stratosphere every time I go near a doctor’s office. Probably does the same every time I have to get into a car around this accursed place.

Now she wants me to repeat the tooth-grinding rigamarole with the Omron to prove, as I’ve already done twice, that I don’t really need drugs that make me sick to avoid a heart attack or a stroke.

What I NEED to avoid a heart attack or a stroke is not to live in freakin’ L.A. East! 

At any rate: today’s project, other than to drive to the far side of the galaxy again, is to ask on the Facebook neighborhood page if anyone can recommend a decent mechanic. Think I’m done with Pete and company.

Cutting Out the Technohassles

Y’know…computer technology is amazing, and an amazing gift to humanity. But…

Yeah: BUT… It’s also a a curse, most often manifested in the form of endless technohassles: long, complicated struggles with the operating systems of every damn thing we need to live our lives in an “advanced” society — from can openers to phones to cars. The telephone is a particular problem. What used to be a simple enough device is now a portable mini-computer and an indefatigable carrier of nuisances. Nuisance procedures, nuisance programming, and most of all nuisance calls from solicitors and hustlers combine to make us feel miserable and harassed.

What to do about it?

Well, I have A PLAN.

Mwa ha ha! It just came to me as I was out driving around in search of gasoline and fresh bread:

Henceforth, one day a week — one whole 24-hour day from 6.a.m. to 6 a.m.— will be declared, promised, and dedicated as a Techno-Free Day.

  • No computers
  • No computers disguised as telephones
  • No email
  • No online news
  • No blogging
  • No telephone interruptions
  • No online scams
  • No nothin’!

The accursed computers go off and stay off for 24 long, quiet back-to-back hours.

This will mean, as you might imagine…

  • No aggravation
  • No frustration
  • No unsolvable ditzy impossible-to-grasp problems
  • No pestering
  • No unknown parties tracking what we do
  • No distractions
  • Minimal annoyance

Yeah.

Seriously: I have HAD IT with the constant technologically-driven distraction and annoyance.

And…I’ve decided I deserve a break from it — as should all of us.

Pick a day of the week, then, and…revert to the freakin 1950s!

  • I like to read the morning news. Fine: zip down to the grocery store and buy a newspaper before breakfast.
  • Create an answering machine message saying something like “I do not answer the phone or check my email on [thus-and-such a day]. If this a real call from someone who knows me personally and has a real reason to speak with me, please leave a message and I’ll call you back tomorrow. If it is an emergency, please call 911. If you are a phone solicitor, please find another use for the time you would waste filling up my machine with your pitch.”
  • Do not answer the phone.
  • Do not even turn on the computers.
  • Find some relaxing and fun things to do outside the house and go do them.

It is time to disconnect from all the crazy-making techno-crap. I can’t stand another minute of it!

Another lovely day in beautiful Arizona…

So I thought I’d found the problem with MacMail, but that was wrong. It now appears that Apple’s elaborate data storage thing backs up all your mail, all your data files, all your everything. Apparently you get a huge but finite amount of space on this server. And…after the six or seven years I’ve been using the current Mac computers, it’s about full!

Everything you think you’re deleting apparently is not really getting deleted. All that junk mail, all those old emails, all those clients’ involved complicated academic papers, all those Excel files, all those notes you wrote to yourself….apparently they’re immortal!

Man, i yam all tech’d out!

This morning I traipsed wayyyy to hell & gone back out to Arrowhead Mall AGAIN, this time to take a ballyhooed class in the iPhone.

Do they have a dedicated space where you can listen to the tutor talk?

You had to ask? Seriously?

So there you are in the middle of the (very busy!)  store, one entire wall of which is open to the two-story-high ECHOEY concrete mall. The Apple tech is hollering to make herself heard, but you can’t hear her well enough to follow her because she’s zipping right along and she assumes you know something of what she’s talking about

The other issue is…this lady (or her boss) is NOT a teacher. The poor thing had NO clue how to organize content for a class or how to conduct a class. She was doing the best she could, which was charming and all, but at least for me, she wasn’t at all helping one to understand how to use the damn device.

The more I watched her, the angrier I got, thinkin’ I just wasted an hour of my time and a quarter-tank of $4.47/gallon gas driving out here.

Got up and left.

Stalking back out toward the Macy’s exit, I happened past a T-Mobile store.

Asked the guys in there, who had nothin’ much to do, if they could advise on how to learn to use the iPhone.

Sure! said they: YouTube! Do a YouTube search for “how to use the iPhone” and enter your model.  They’ve got instructions for every model, and their stuff is great.

I’m going DUH! Why TF didn’t I think of that?????

So it was out the door, feeling at once frustrated, put-upon, and stupid.

Cruising eastward, ever eastward through the endless fields of eave-to-eave plaster and concrete houses… Interesting. Really, they’re not so different from the houses in our less sprawling North Central tracts: just newer, closer together, and…more. Ever-so-much more of them.

What’s neat about them is that commerce is tucked in around them cleverly, so that no matter where your tract happens to be, you’re practically within walking distance of restaurants, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, auto repair shops, SOME kinda shopping.

Pump more gas. Continue eastward, ever eastward.

Arrive home. Snab the mail out of the box. And discover…

An IRATE message from Cox saying I haven’t paid in two months and I owe more than $250 and they’re gonna shut off my phone and internet service.

Say WHAT?

I thought the CU was supposed to be autopaying that!

Get on the phone: persuade Cox to call off the hounds.

Back in the car. Drive back up to northwest Phoenix. Charge into the credit union, which I’d just passed about a half-hour earlier. Discuss. Discover that no, we’re not auto-paying Cox, because I don’t trust Cox, which I consider to be a nest of crooks.

Drive home. Get Cox back on the phone. Charge $250 on my debit card. Pissed.

CU guy suggested setting Cox payments to be autopaid on a debit card. Done, even though this sounds like a sterling bad idea.

Four in the afternoon, virtually nothing of any value has been accomplished, and I yam whipped!

Let’s see if this works….

Here we are in Computer Hell. Everything in sight is crashing, malfunctioning, and running amok. Got a trip to the Apple store scheduled; had THE world’s most adorable Geek Squad dude show up and labor mightily. Wackiness continues.

Dinnertime is here, and the Old Bat has recourse to Bogle’s Best,.

LOL! Actually, that was supposed to be absurd, but the truth is — hang onto your hat — Bogle’s astonishingly cheap Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a damned respectable drinkin’ wine.

Tastes just fine and doesn’t seem to clash with much.

Except with Reality. Which, we might add, fits me well: apparently I clash with today’s Reality! 😀

The techno-frustration level exceeds Reality. In fact, at this very moment, a thought occurs to me:

Given the password to my Blogging empire and whatever secret codes are needed to operate the iPhone my son kindly gave me, y’know…in reality…or in Unreality….I would not need anything more than an iPhone.

Maybe I could do without owning and operating a laptop or a desktop?

Because as a past employee of the Great Desert University and of the Maricopa County Community Colleges, for-freakin’-FREE I can use their computer labs. Truth to tell, I don’t NEED to access all the horrors from my house or from my own (failing) computers. I could run over to GDU or to the closest community college, take a seat, and ensconce myself in my whole Computer Empire.

God’s truth is…it may not be necessary for me to own laptop at all. Especially since, far’s I can tell, the iPhone contraption IS a computer.

Why the f*ck am I torturing myself with this connectivity horror show? Why don’t I move the three-ring horror show over to the nearest community college or over to GDU?

Added benefit of moving the online empire away from the Funny Farm: it would force me to meet other human beings!

Truly. the roof has rotted away and is falling in on Funny’s blogging empire. I can’t get online to my email. I can’t print stuff in any rational way. I can’t…I can’t…I can’t…well, yeah: I CAN’T STAND ANOTHER MINUTE OF THIS techno-horror show!

It’s two in the afternoon, and just now I’m excruciatingly exhausted after hours of struggling with this computer horror and that computer horror, with gmail and Macmail and things I can’t even remember as the timer beeps to tell me lunch/dinner is ready. Please, please, dear God: take me back to the 19th century!

What’s a little American Civil War compared to what’s going on in the Ukraine, hm?

Shee-ut. Was Abraham Lincoln our protean Vladimir Putin?

‘Tis an article for the New York Review of Books…