Coffee heat rising

Gaaaahhhh! Wouldntcha know it?

Well… Of course you’d know it. We all know it:

Computers Crash.

And when do they crash?

Right:

When you’re tired.

When you hurt all over.

When you most need the damn thing.

When you least feel like farting with the damn thing…

WHY is that?

Fortunately, I have a subscription to Best Buy’s “TotalTech” service. That lash-up, by the way, is worth the price in spades! Three times I’ve had to call those guys out here. They show up at the house and they bang around and fiddle around and actually FIX the damn thing. Without me having to unplug stuff and tote it up to a shop. Need to call them now — it’s 7:15 p.m., but they claim to be reachable 24/7. We shall see, in a few minutes.

The thing is reloading now…sorta…at the speed of a snail swimming through a bowl of honey. I’m hoping if it can be forced to reboot, it’ll kick back on. But…well…don’t have much hope.

The machine is a certifiable antique. A very, VERY old iMac. I use it mostly as a TV set — that’s what I tried to rev it up for this evening: to watch PBS News. Looks like that ain’t going to happen.

For ordinary computing tasks — word processing, Excel, cruising the Web, and whatnot — I use a newer MacBook. Even that’s getting pretty old now. But it still works, and I like it because I can loaf in a comfortable chair or on the bed while playing on the Web. Mostly the iMac serves as Command Central — a number of tasks that keep both machines online and operating run through that thing — and to amuse myself while I’m standing in that room ironing clothes. Plus it has to be turned on for the printer to work. No iMac, no printing from the MacBook.

Okay, it sllllllooooooowwwwwwlllleeeee arrived at the end of the black reboot bar…and now seems to be hung there. Am I going to shut down and try to turn it back on?

Don’t you just KNOW this is gonna mean I have to to buy a new iMac, to the tune of how many berzillion bucks?  And since I’ve about shut down the editing business, that adventure won’t even be tax-deductible. Helle’s Belles!

{sigh}

Okay, got it to turn off — with some difficulty. Now to wait for…oh, say…five minutes or so and then try to turn it back on. Har har! good luck with that, eh?

The timer looks kinda peaked…probably out of battery juice. How do I NOT feel like tracking down batteries,  IF the stash still contains any that fit in that thing…

… …

… … …

And now it’s sorta rebooting, or trying to: verrrrrrrrrrrrreeeee sllllloooooooollllleeeeeee

Yea verily, my guess would be it’s not gonna reboot.

Oh damn oh hell…now am I gonna have to buy a new computer, on top of all the other mechanical headaches?

Its little reboot bar is c-r-r-a-a-w-w-w-l-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g across the screen. Silently, ever silently. My guess is that if the thing reboots, it won’t be in our lifetime.

Set the timer for five minutes. If it hasn’t rebooted by then, I’ll call TotalTech (24 hours! Even at 7:30 on a Friday night!) and try to get somebody over here.

In the Berzillion Bucks Department, the refrigerator that AMEX extracted, for free, from the sleazy B&B Appliances outfit, while less than optimal, IS running.

Five Minutes Later

Still crawwwwwwwllllliiiing. But it’s sllllooooowwwwwwwllleeee nearing the end of the reboot bar. Better wait another five or ten minutes to see if it gets there and, if so, what happens then.

How do I hate this computer stuff? Lemme count the ways…

Believe it or not, back in the heady days of the infant IBM PCs, I used to be highly techie. For the time, that is.

But the techie stuff left me behind. Truth to tell, I just lost interest in it. So in very little time — a matter of months, really, I was in the dust.

And never felt much desire to crawl out of the dust, truth to tell.

Okay, let’s play a game of Klondike Solitaire on the MacBook, then go in the other room, shut down, and try to reboot the iMac come Hell or High Water.

You know and I know that will cause the damn thing to crash in flames, right?

Well. Believe it or not, thanks to American Express I have a functioning, relatively quiet refrigerator…flat-out FREE.

AMEX made the sleazy B&B Appliances refund my money, 100%. Not long afterward — a day or so — the weird noises ceased and the fridge started to work normally. It’s still obviously a rip-off: you can tell it was damaged and broken in several places, which they tried to cover up. BUT…it does work. So…that would mean there’s no need to run right out and drop $850 to $1,000 on another refrigerator. Especially since I’ll be dropping that much or more on a new computer.

Half-an-hour or 40 minutes later…

Endlessly on the phone with the Best Buy “geeks.” The soonest they can send a tech over to work on the thing is the 22nd.  That’s five days from now.

Five days in which I cannot print anything…because for reasons that I’ve never been able to figure out, the printer will talk ONLY with the desktop iMac. It won’t print anything from the laptop unless the desktop is turned on AND working.

Jayzuz!

Ohhhh well! at least they are gonna come over, and I don’t have to drag the damn desktop in to the store and try to explain the problem.

To perfect this predicament, next week I have a “virtual appointment: with MayoDoc. Cripes! If anything happens to the laptop, I’m not going to be able to do that…and knowing the way things have been going — whatever can go wrong will go wrong — you may be damn sure that the laptop will go on the fritz that very morning.

Best Buy’s “Total Tech” crew cannot be beat…at least so far, in my experience. Those guys have been great. I could do without having to wait the better part of a week (that’s unusual: they usually show up the next day), but since I’ve shucked off the clients, there’s no real need to HAVE to have a functioning printer right this minute. My son will print anything crucial, I’m sure. WonderAccountant, who’s across the street, might do it in a pinch…if I can work up the nerve to ask her. But by and large, nothing urgent has to be done.

Which reminds me…we DO have a new (if cheapo) printer stashed in there…if push comes to shove, I can ask the guy to connect that. Probably won’t produce copy that looks as classy, but it will produce…something. Probably. Maybe.

Over to Lowe’s this afternoon to look at LG refrigerators. Those seem to be the highest-rated of the whole lot. And yes, Lowe’s does have LGs, and by golly, they have one that is exactly what I want! A stripped-down model: top freezer, bottom fridge, each with one door (not two), $900.

Having been bopped about the head and shoulders over the Great Refrigerator Purchase, this time I refrained from whipping out the charge card. But think in a day or two I’ll probably go over there and buy one.

It’s a challenge to my cheap-skateitude! The evil local dealer’s unit is working reasonably well now. It’s noisier than I’d like, but not so much as to keep you awake all night. And thanks to American Express, I’ve got it essentially for free! They refused to take it back (they’re not kidding about their “no returns” policy) and AMEX refuses to pay them. So that leaves the thing in my kitchen.

On the one hand, I’d like never to see it again (to say nothing of never to hear it again…), but on the other…hey: what we have here is, when you come right down to it, a free refrigerator.

  • Is it brand-new? Probably not.
  • Does it have a few dents? Yep.
  • Has it likely seen some repair work? No doubt.
  • But does it work? Sure does….

So…to the cheapskate mind, it just seems downright foolish to replace it with a $900 unit.

3:30 a.m.

A-n-n-d…to make things perfect, it looks like a long-ago, potentially life-threatening infection is recurring. I should get in the car and start driving…driving…driving out to the Mayo. But…forgodsake.

Not. Now.

on and on and endlessly on….

Gettin’ all computer-hassled out…

Or maybe that’s “all hassled out,” in a more general way.

Tried to get in to Funny’s dashboard this morning. It wouldn’t take my password.

Tried again. It wouldn’t take my password.

Tried again. It wouldn’t take my password.

Tried…on and on.

Dug out the email address for BigScoots, the better to pester them. Type type type…

Tried again. This time it accepted the password. The SAME password I’d just entered repeatedly.

Yes. I do understand the need for computer security. I get hack attempt after hack attempt. Yes. And scam after scam after scam lands in my email inbox. Every day. Yes. I do know — from experience! — that there are large mailing lists organized by age, which sales hustlers use to target the marks they figure will the most vulnerable. If you’re over about 70, they figure you’re ripe for the taking.

As dawn cracks, for example, just in the e-mail inbox (not counting all the other possible avenues for scamming) we have

Hi Victoria,
I’ve selected a few opportunities you may want to explore. Apply directly if interested. If you’ve moved recently or would like to see different jobs click here and help me better serve you.

Have I applied for a job lately?

Nooooooo

Have I contacted this outfit in any way, directly or indirectly?

Noooooooo

Do they think I’m stupid as a post?

Sure enough

This morning I have to visit Young Dr. Kildare — his office is many miles closer to my house than the Mayo is, and so I’ve taken to seeing him for minor ailments, reserving MayoDoc for the heavy hitting. This is another nexus of computer hassle: every time you visit, they want you to sign into their annoying “Portal” and fill out redundant form after redundant form after redundant form. My computer will NOT let me into the thing, no matter what fu*king password I try. So I have to show up 15 minutes early and beg a staff member to help.

This is complicated by the fact that my appointment is for 9 a.m. — and they don’t open till 9 a.m.

but… <hard return hard return>…waitwaitwait!!!

lookee here! I’ve…

ESCAPED!

OMG! A miracle has happened.

I can’t believe it!

The night-long overcast has coalesced into a steady, pouring rain. The road crew out front has run off, presumably to a coffeeshop, leaving an army’s worth of equipment out in the road. I looked at that weather and thought…ohhhhhh shee-ut! Time for a strategic prevarication.

{grrrrr grrrrr…} I will be dayumed if I’m driving up the gawdawful Cave Creek Road to YDK’s office in the rain, through the rush-hour traffic under dusky early-morning skies.

one ringy-dingy
two ringy-dingies

Phone lady picks up.

I prevaricate extravagantly: “The city is digging up the road — apparently the sewer system has gone awry. [true; and true] I can’t get my car out of the garage [fake] and so it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to get up to your place by 9 a.m. [faker than fake].”

She buys it!  Or at least, she kindly pretends to buy it…so I’m outta there.

Actually, the ailment that led to this morning’s appointment has magically faded away. Ear weirdness: felt like (are you ready for this one?) a strand of hair had somehow worked its way into the ear canal and was poking me in the inner ear.  Just in the past hour, though, that sensation (which I’ve been enjoying for the lo! these many days) has pretty much gone away.

Soooo…here we are, loafing in an easy chair, watching the rain and enjoying the enforced silence out front (soon to be broken, whenever the heavy machinery can be fired up). If I had any sense, I’d go back to bed and try to catch a few extra Z’s before these guys get down to work.

But no one has accused me, not lately anyway, of having any sense.

Tony’s Home for Wayward Delinquents is quiescent. Some of the kids live there; others are bussed in by van each morning. Strange. Do they close down when it rains?

Unlikely. Could be, though, that the city warned them that all mechanized Hell was slated to break loose this morning, so they may have arranged for the least stable of their inmates to be kept elsewhere today.

For awhile, I thought he’d acquired the house next door to the south of the Institute. But…now I think that doesn’t appear to be the case. Hard to believe the city would let him glom more than one house in a row to convert into reform schools.

What. A. Place. If I had any sense — and my son would pipe down and quit threatening to have me institutionalized if I dare to sell this house — I would move far, far away from here. EVERY DAY is a new litany of crime and craziness. And since the ‘Hood is bordered by the tired and sleazy west side, just on the other side of Conduit of Blight Blvd., and by one of the most dangerous slums in the state just to the north of Gangbanger’s Way, one does not feel very safe here. And one is bloodywell not very likely to extract enough from sale of a home here to move into anyplace safer other than the dreary, depressing Sun City.

Ain’t it fine?

Gas station barricade–wheee!
QT Employee stabbed! Yeah: you can walk there from here, no problem…
Build-to-Rent: The newest rage in real estate. Uh huh…that’ll add a lot of class to this area
Escaped prisoner captured in Phoenix Hotel. Hmmm…how d’you tell the difference between an escaped convict and the local yokels?
Body found in local canal. That’s about 20 blocks from here. You could walk there from the university.
Cop creamed in crash; suspects run off.
Another officer-involved shooting. This one, at least, is a distance from the ‘Hood. For a change.

One could go on and on and on. The local news runs like this every day, and a substantial number of the Happenings occur near or in the ‘Hood. This is why I drive across the city to go to a grocery store, rather than walking or driving to the nearby Albertson’s. It’s why I’d rather drive almost out to the university — any day! — to go to the Sprouts, rather than buy at the one within walking distance of the Funny Farm.

Computer hassles. Real-world hassles. Good grief! Where do I go to buy a cave in the red-rock country of southern Utah?

Ben FrantzDale, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

Another Day to Cope With….

One of the joys of old age seems to be that almost every day of your life is filled with hassles, most of them entailing trips to doctor’s offices or efforts to keep your personal infrastructure running. Today’s menu includes both of those.

Something has happened to my ancient land-line phone. When I’m talking to someone, they complain that I’m “breaking up” and they can’t hear the conversation. I have no problem hearing them, so apparently the issue is with the out-going function, whatever that is. Cox, after a long and annoying runaround, agreed to send someone out to try to fix it. Which of course he’ll be able to do only if the problem is with Cox’s lines, not if the problem is the gadget itself.

He’s supposed to appear between 8 and 10:30. Let’s hope (against hope….) that he actually shows up in that time frame. Because I’m supposed to appear, too: at the dermatologist’s office, an hour-long drive across the city. I’ll have to leave here by about 11:30 to get there on time.

So there’s exactly no wriggle room there.

A signal joy of old age, at least for people who have lived all their lives in sunny climates, is that your skin sprouts carcinomas like an Ohio farm field sprouts corn. Since the last time I saw Dr. Derm, I’ve developed at least three and probably more spots that will have to be cut or frozen off. Whee! I can hardly wait.

If the Cox guy says the problem with my phone is the devices, then I’ll have to stop by a Best Buy and pick up another set of phones that don’t make me crazy trying to work them. Assuming such phones are still being made….

The ones I have came from Costco. There’s a Costco on the way back from lovely Avondale, but it’s in a part of town where I’m not at all comfortable getting out of my car. Plus the first (and last) time I went into that store, their staff was astonishingly rude to me…. So I’m not about to go back there.

If I have to buy another phone, then, I’ll have to go to the Costco wayyyyyy up on the freeway, halfway to freaking Flagstaff, or the one all the way over at 44th street. I’ll be spending the dermatologist’s time at 107th Avenue. Streets in Phoenix are on the east side of Central Avenue; Avenues are on the west side…that’s 151 blocks of hectic city traffic to contend with: a good 20 miles from my house. The Costco I usually go to is 23 miles from the derm’s office and 9 miles back from that Costco to my house: 32 miles through crazy-making, dangerous traffic. In the rain.

The likelihood that I’ll be able to find a new land-line phone is slim to none, o’course. Most folks have thrown those out and replaced them with cell phones.

Now…that’s nice….except….

a) I am all learning-curved out. Try as I may, I can NOT figure out how to use the expensive iPhone my son gave me a couple years ago. He gave me the phone just as the plague was coming down on us. Result: the classes on how to use it that took place in a local senior center were shut down. They’ve never resumed. The class that the Apple store offers, wayyyyyy to hell and gone on the northwest side of town, was a ridiculous joke.

b) It’s another thing to lose. If I don’t set it down in the SAME PLACE every time I pick it up, I’m going to lose it. That’s not a “maybe.” That’s an “absolutely positively.” Then I will spend heaven only knows how long banging around the house and the car frantically searching for it…give up…and finally several days later — after I’ve bought a new phone — find it. This is not a device that works for old folks, for people whose lives have any distractions whatsoever,  or for those who aren’t memorizing every goddamn step they take as they move through life.

c) It’s something else for phone solicitors to pester me with. I’ve managed to block most phone soliciting on the land lines (at the expense of blocking all incoming calls from the west side and from many area codes).

I get up to ten nuisance phone solicitations every day. Blocking area codes and certain prefixes cuts this to two or three pestering calls per day. My phones are set up to minimize that harassment.

Change my number over to the iPhone and…yeah. Here we go again!

It appears you can replicate the area-code blocking on an iPhone, sure. But you have to pay for the privilege! Natcherly.

Lordie! It’s after 7 a.m. Gotta start running…

****

P.S. Just to frost all those cakes, I go to let the dog out and find…it’s raining!

Ohhhhh Hell & damnation. It’s hard enough to schlep to the far, far west side under the best of circumstances. But to do it while dodging around repairmen AND coping with the homicidal drivers on slick, wet roads…dayum!

I may have to call the dermatologist and reschedule, if they’ll allow it.

******

Cox guy in. Cox guy fixes phone. Finds defective cable. Fixes. Cox guy out.

Meanwhile, adding a litle chaos: pool dude in, pool dude paid, pool dude out. Dog gets into pool area but, for a miraculous change, does NOT fall into the (icy-cold!) drink.

Doctor’s appointment canceled: saved from THAT unholy hassle.

Lost iPhone found. Plugged back in.

It’s ten minutes to ten.

Now…if the dust will just settle….maybe I can have breakfast???

Whatever Can Go Wrong…

DOES GO WRONG.

LOL! One of those days, that is…with a vengeance!

Well…maybe not that extreme. But certainly to an extent on the high side of ridiculous.

Last week I had the laptop worked on by an outfit called MacMedia, out in lovely Scottsdale’s tourist district. It’s almost a full hour’s drive out there, on a good day. One-way. But they’re worth it. These guys are brilliant, and whatever CAN be fixed, they WILL fix.

So yesterday, they summon me thither to come retrieve the spiffed up computer.

Traipse traipse traipse, traipse traipse traipse…  Get out there, collect the machine: thrilled. They’ve somehow contrived to block ALL the blitz of incoming spam and scam emails!

Have they  blocked my friends? Nooooo idea: presumably I’ll find out. But for the nonce, at least that mess is tidied up.

This morning, there was one more thing that needed to be attended to, and I wanted to look in to buying a new or refurbished laptop to have a back-up for when this one craps out. Which it will, sooner than later…of that you can be sure.

Traipse traipse traipse, traipse traipse traipse…

They said to get there about 9:15 to 9:30. Ducky: I’m a little early.

Wait wait wait, wait wait wait

9:30. No one around.

Stroll around Scottsdale’s agèd Fifth Avenue. About all that’s left by way of retail stores are hair salons and art galleries. Stroll stroll stroll…down to Indian School Road, one of the Valley’s unlovelier thoroughfares. Come upon an old, fenced-off motel: no doubt once a nice enough tourist trap, now a ruin. Wander through…looks like they’re getting ready to tear it down. Someday. Pretty clearly it’s been in this predicament for quite some time.

This was once a thriving, vibrant arts, restaurant, and fancy retail district. It’s a ghost town now.

Where have all the tourist traps gone,
Long time pa-a-ssin’…
Where have all the tourists gone,
Long time ago?

Roam back to the computer store. No sign of life.

Ohh, screw it!

Climb back in the car and head outta there.

Mission Unaccomplished!

Cruise back across the surface streets, passing at a distance the (highly!!!) upscale neighborhood where my best friend in graduate school lived, with her low-income-earning socially useful husband.

HOW did those two find that really rather cool and wonderful studio on a couple acres of land, adjunct to a large, real adobe richistani’s house with space for a vegetable garden, with a big swimming pool that no one but those two used and a view from the side of a very expensive mountain and a straight shot down 68th street into Tempe, right to the university?

Huh…  Why have I never thought of that question before?

Not very curious as a kid, was I?

Oh well.

Driving driving driving, westward ever westward. Through tracts of palace-sized custom houses, their weird post-modern architecture uglier than pussly in my opinion, driving driving driving….

Think about my friend’s life. Think about her kids’ lives. Think about her ex-husband’s life. Think about my life. Think about my kid’s life. Think about my ex-husband’s life…driving driving driving….

Arrive back at the Funny Farm. By now I’ve been on the road around two hours.

Reflect that I intended to stop by the Safeway and get a booster shot to cover the current variant of the plague. Haul the computer in. Let the dog out. Climb back in the car: drive to the Safeway.

Wait is a minimum of 20 minutes, I’m told.

Now, I really don’t want to stand around breathing other folks’ germs even five minutes, to say nothing of 20-plus minutes.

Stalk back across the parking lot, jump in the car, drive out. Dodge a FRANTIC fire truck charging into the lot…did someone pass out while receiving their Omicron shot?

Weasel away from that mess.

Drive up to the Walgreen’s in the gangland bordering the ‘Hood just to the north. Squeak around a couple of sketchy looking clusters in the parking-lot; dodge into the store.

“We don’t have any of the vaccine. Call us on Monday to see…”

Jayzus.

Drive down to the Albertson’s on Gangbanger’s Way.

“You have to make an appointment several days in advance to get a shot.”

Jayzus.

Drive home.

Put on my favorite around-the-house/reading glasses. One of the temple pieces is about to fall off.

Call the beloved traveling glasses repair-dude (you would not believe this amazing man…and he comes to your house!). He’s maxed. Please call next Monday to see if he can find time to come by someday next week.

Dig out the newer, more bourgeois Costco glasses with the progressive Rx. They’re OK…I’m just not fond of having to tilt my head at a neck-kinking angle to read copy. Oh well.

Call the computer store. They beg me to come back. Ohhkayyyy.

Defrost a piece of salmon; cook it and an ear of corn on the grill. Feed the dog some of it, thereby ingratiating myself for the next week. Eat lunch/dinner.

Fone Frolicks and Fluff…

Took some time, but for the nonce — and suddenly — it looks like Cox has got the phone situation under control

Some vast snafu arose last week, so involved I couldn’t explain it here because I couldn’t understand it myself. Cox sent over a tech — one of the nicest men I’ve met in decades. He worked on the phone system for a couple of hours, and now, hallelujah! It seems to be doing what a landline phone is SUPPOSED to do.

Yeah…i know…but i keep the landline for some specific practical reasons.

One is that I know how to use it. Every cell phone seems to be different, and every one of them presents a new learning curve, highly decorated with annoyance and frustration. So, all told…

  • We have the cool iPhone my son gave me, which I have yet to figure out. So far I have managed to learn how to make a phone call and how to call up a map. but…geez…should I have to get a graduate degree in electronic engineering to make a phone call?
  • We have four or five extremely cheapo flip phones that can be carried in a pocket out by the pool, around the house, and when walking the dog. (No: an iPhone does NOT fit in the pockets of a pair of women’s jeans!)  These are not hooked up to any service. Because of the law that says all cell phones have to be able to dial 911 whether they’re connected or not, their purpose is exactly that: for dialing 911 in the next emergency.
  • We have the landline with five extensions, three of them situated within grabbing distance of the floor, for use if I fall and bust myself.

The problem with the landline of late has been an unending blitz of junk phone-soliciting calls. Of late — over the past few months — I’ve been getting 10 or 12 nuisance calls a day! EVERY day. This has about rendered the landline useless, risk of falls or no risk of falls.

The Cox guy cleaned up a bunch of glitches and set the modem so it works the way it’s supposed to. Good.

A-N-N-D… it appears that Cox has connected my land line number with its industrial-strength call blocker!

The CPR Call Blocker, a handy-dandy little gadget that you plug in-line with your phone & your land-line connection, works to some extent. But it seems to be maxed — of late it hasn’t been working worth a damn. I’ve been getting ten or twelve nuisance calls a day! All day, from early morning to 9 or 10 at night. I don’t know whether it’s maxed, or whether the bastards have now got a way to circumvent the thing. Whatever, it doesn’t work anymore.

But today, after I talked with the Cox folks again about this problem, not one nuisance phone call has come in since dawn!

Suspicious, I’ve called the landline number a couple of times from the iPhone. The clunker phone does seem to be working. So the only thing I can figure — and hope! — is that Cox’s call-blocking system DOES work.

Meanwhile, my son has gone off to Colorado to attend some obsequies for his late grandmother — more on that later, when I feel like writing more. Just now, I’m going to bed, before the dogs change their minds!

Round and Round We Go….

Welp, by this morning it was beginning to look like Funny (and all that which is related to her) was flat outta luck. The blogsite’s “dashboard” would NOT take my password, and it would not let me change the password.

Finally had recourse to Grayson, the Web Guru Extraordinaire. He created a new password…TWENTY-FIVE CHARACTERS LONG, all utter gobbledygook. No chance in Hell of a bad guy or gal  memorizing it.

Ahem…not too likely that the computer’s operator can memorize it, either! 😀 Helle’s Belles, I can barely remember my own name these days.

Meanwhile, yesterday in comes a notice from the gas company…

They’re going to CUT OFF MY GAS because they think they haven’t been paid!

HUH??????

All of the utilities are set up to auto-pay down at the credit union. This has been so for several YEARS! Howcum all of a sudden the gas company isn’t getting paid, and WHAT OTHER REGULARLY RECURRING BILLS AREN’T GETTING PAID???????

God DAYUM it!!!!!

So tomorrow I’ll have to call the gas company and see if I can talk them into charging my AMEX card — thereby, as you once suggested, piling up credits toward this, that, and the other reward scheme.

Then I will have to get into the goddamn car and burn ANOTHER quarter tank of $4.89/gallon gasoline to traipse to the CU and find out WTF they’ve done and why they canceled the goddamn auto-pay. And what other auto-pays they’ve canceled. On further inspection, it looks like quite a few of the auto-pays are no longer autopaying.

WHY??? This is not something I would have willingly shut down.

As you know, trying to unearth a human at each of the utility companies will take HOURS. The phone runarounds, at least in our parts, defy belief. By the time I get a person on the phone, I’m so frustrated and angry that I could bite someone! So THAT is a procedure I do not look forward to. IN fact, I wonder if it’s possible to go in person to some of these outfits.

Despite my concern about the Mac outfit in Scottsdale (and the none-too-great experience I had with the same company’s far, far FAR west-side office), the guy we talked with there turned out to be just stellar. He has the MacBook running — albeit, not in the style I would prefer (I loathe, for example, page changes that slither by like slides in a slide projector!) — thereby giving me at least a little time to get my act (such as it is) together. I really liked the guy, and you may be sure that if I have to buy a new computer, it’s coming from his place.

Man…in addition to the CompuFrolics and charging from pillar to post around the Valley, on the way home yesterday evening…some poor wretch had somehow FLOWN off the main north-south drag to the east of the hood — apparently he literally went airborne — and sailed into a power pole. Upshot was he ELECTRIFIED a good three blocks of North 7th Avenue. Had a woman in the car with him. You never saw so many cops and firemen in your life.

They shut down 7th, which is one of the main, MOST major surface streets leading out of downtown and mid-town Phoenix toward the northern and western suburbs.

****

Mercifully, neither the driver nor his passenger was injured seriously. Before the troops got themselves into position, I managed to slither past and could see the whole shebang. And we do mean “bang”…it”s amazing that they both weren’t killed

Power stayed on over in this section of the ’Hood, but apparently it was down for a large part of the area

Got a little worried when I couldn’t find my fave neighbors, the WonderAccountants…she works at home, but he goes into an office. Hope he didn’t have to drive around Robin Hood’s Barn to get home

Man, that little wrecky-poo was something to see, when you reflect upon it. The perps were in a standard-sized pickup truck, about the size of a Ford 150. Along that stretch of Main Drag East, there’s an access road, which is separated from the main thoroughfare with a narrow planter delineated by concrete curbs.That’s a 40 mph zone there, so if our hero was keeping up with the traffic, he was going around 45 to 50.

He hits the curb, and hevvin help us, he goes airborne. Now he’s behind the wheel of a flying machine that’s about 15 to 20 feet off the ground, all four wheels

He slams into the metal light pole — this is a large, standard city thoroughfare’s lamp post, about three or four feet in diameter  and very tall. And he hits it between a third and half-way up.

No kidding!

Incredibly, the truck hits the pole so the shaft impacts the front end almost exactly halfway between the headlights, where it digs a hole in the truck’s engine compartment

The power lines go down, electrifying a substantial part of the nearby acreage. But incredibly, neither the driver nor his female passenger were seriously injured

Says something for airbags and seatbelts, eh?

*****

Dontcha love it that the New Improved Mac won’t let me format this thing’s font for copy drafted in Word to fit the style used by WordPress?

*****

Oh, wait! Here’s a password for the credit union, taped to the front of the MacBook! there are now so many effing p/w’s taped to the computer, I can’t track of them!   Lemme see if this will get me in!

Nope. Doesn’t work.

Just what I need. Another 40 minutes of traipsing through homicidal traffic, another hassle with the CU’s mystified staff, another raft of incomprehensible password hoopjumps….

STOP THE WORLD I WANNA GET OFF!