Coffee heat rising

The Chaos Hangover

The older you get, I think, the harder it is to deal with stress. And this past two weeks of unending techno-chaos have been nothing if not hideously stressful. Last night I enjoyed a fine hangover from that stress-storm…again, I think.

Along about 2:30 in the morning, a bright flare of pain and sweat woke me up. Gut pain, chest pain, shoulder ache…hard-to-tell pain.

Heart attack? Certainly could be. Chest pain and sweating are classic heart attack signs.

On the other hand(s):

  • It was 80 degrees in the house and I was under three layers of blankets.
  • The pain seemed to be on the outside of the ribs, not inside, not under the ribs, not under the sternum, not under the clavicle. Earlier this week I wrenched that shoulder again, wrestling the dog around the ’hood — the same shoulder I dislocated a couple years ago. Damn thing has been hurting for a couple weeks, every time I wake up.
  • The mastectomy scars hurt, in a low-key way. All the time. On the outside of the ribs. Press anyplace around that area, three or four inches to the north or south of the elegantly disguised scar, and it hurts. So if I’m sleeping in some kind of odd position, likely I’m going to wake up with my chest hurting. On the outside of the ribs, not inside, not under the ribs, not under the sternum, not under the clavicle….
  • Stress invariably creates some sort of malign hangover, usually of an unpredictable nature. And stress, frustration, time suck, and anguish have haunted every waking and sleeping moment of my existence for the past two or three weeks. I’ve lost 2/3 of my business base, my computers are a jumble, I can’t figure out how to use iCloud effectively (and don’t believe it can be used the way I need to have it work), and I feel generally f*cked over. In a big way. No wonder I’m having some kind of little tizzy…
  • Interestingly, sitting up eventually elicited a fine burp: gas! Maybe…ya think?…just maybe I shouldn’t have swiggled down that half-a-cup of cheap red wine right before turning off the light and pulling the pillow over my head.

Yes, I could call 911. They would not take me to the Mayo, where my doctor practices and which is the only local hospital in which I have anything resembling confidence. They would take me to the hospital of their convenience, where I decidedly do not want to go. And want or no want, I have soooo HAD it with doctors and doctoring, I would rather die right now today than go through any more of that. And no, my friends, I do not exaggerate.

Get up; repair to the hall closet. Chew a couple of vile Gaviscon tablets. As usual, this stuff has no effect other than to make me hate my taste buds. Remember the ranitidine stashed in the closet. That’s Zantac. Drop one of those. After about 30 or 45 minutes, this stuff seems to work.

Evidently not about to die, climb back into bed around the sleeping dog.

Resolve…

a) Quit drinking as a stress control strategy.
b) Test blood pressure sometime after sunrise; if systolic is over 140, call the quack on Monday. Maybe.

Well, come the dawn, the BP numbers are a little high: average 137/86.

On the other hand:

  • It’s hot.
  • I drank half a bottle of wine yesterday afternoon.
  • And then I spent half the night wrestling with the question of how to copy data from DropBox and from iCloud to Documents, whence we know for sure that Time Machine will copy it. It appears very likely that TM does not copy iCloud. Wouldncha know it. There is a LOT of data stored to these two fine thunderclouds…so much, in fact, that the MacBook just informed me that it doesn’t have enough space to absorb another gulp of this trash.
  • I hate loathe and despise taking my blood pressure, almost as much as I hate loathe and despise watching some underling in a doctor’s office do it wrong. That sentiment alone is enough to drive up one’s numbers.

Jayzus!

At any rate, planning a strategy for organizing and transferring all this data was quite the little project…as in “took two hours to figure it out in any rational way.”

Most of my stuff is now deleted from DropBox. It took two full days and then some to transfer this data over to iCloud, an apparent exercise in futility. Copying from iCloud to the MacBook’s hard disk only took a couple of hours this morning…but of course I can’t get it ALL on the hard disk, because the MacBook is now chuckablock full.

Next: run Time Machine to back up the MacBook, thereby saving this data in perpetuity. In fact, do a TM back up to not one but two external hard drives…hope to God the hard drives are large enough. Once this stuff is saved, delete all the really old, “archived” debris that no one, myself included, cares ever to see again. This should free up some space on the MacBook.

Then get into iCloud and delete sh!tloads of data, which has about maxed the space I’m paying for. A lot of this stuff is archived business and financial documents, which really need only to be saved in a couple of places — a backup drive and the MacBook. But other than that material, much of the remaining detritus can be deleted without much risk.

How do I hate this sh!t? Let me count the ways.

I am soooo sick of technohassles! Once again, another entire day is going to be spent watching machines grinding away. No work, paying or otherwise, is going to get done. I am going to be frustrated and angry by the time the day ends, and once again I will go to bed frustrated and angry. Which no doubt contributes to things like waking up at 2:30 in the morning with a hair-raising bellyache.

Please, God: send me a patient little quarterhorse, about 50 head of cattle, and 2000 acres of upland grass country.

A Touch of Heaven in a Day from Hell

OKAY, this one is as amazing as it gets…

So Apple shipped off my MacBook to its repair shop in Tennessee, where the thing has been for the better part of a week. But before very long, they finish and ship it back. Supposed to arrive between 8 and 10 a.m. today.

Sent off a chapter to one client. Read another client’s chapter and sent that off to him.

Come 11 a.m., no sign of it. I call Apple. Their rep gets ahold of Fedex, who say their guy tried to deliver it but no one was home. Of course I was home. And Gerardo was here with four of his guys, too! I expect the guy delivered it to Josie’s house: same number as my house, same street name except “Lane,” not “Way.” Apple CSR  gets the various numbers for me to try to track this down.  I call FedEx and get a robo-phone runaround, so I figure I’ll drive up to the Fedex office on Meth Lover’s Lane in person.

I’m cruising across SubFeeder Street headed for Conduit of Blight — NOT my usual route, because I hate turning left at the signal at CofB and GangBanger’s Way (because of the Fucking Train), so I normally backtrack around Robin Hood’s Barn to avoid it. The intersection of CofB & Meth Lover’s is impassible with construction, so you have to drive to 23rd on Gangbanger’s Way, go north to Meth Lover’s, then right on Meth Lover’s and left on 21st. And 21st is jammed with frustrated drivers trying to get around the roadblock at CofB and Meth Lover’s. Wheeeee!

As I cross Local Lane West, I see a Fedex Truck headed in my direction. Hot DAYUM!

I lay on the horn, jump out of the car, and flag him down.

And believe it or not, HE HAS THE COMPUTER and…another believe-it-or-not… he FORKS IT OVER.

Holy mackerel. He swears he’s been here and left a notice.

Check when I get home, and by golly, he’s right: the doorbell button on the gate doesn’t ring. Must have run out of battery juice or gotten wet in the rain and ruint.

But…can you imagine? Actually encountering the guy on the way out of the ‘hood?????? Wow!

As expected, I spent the entire afternoon wrestling with the computer, trying to get it back online. It goes, but it goes slow.

Tomorrow I’ll have to spend half a day wrestling with DropBox, which seemed to be cooperating up to the point where it supposedly synced itself with the newly refurbished (i.e., key tools erased or up-gefucked) machine. After making me jump through a thousand hoops and forcing me to dream up a new goddamn password and seemingly starting the 24-hour process to sync the zillions of gigabytes worth of files I have stored in DropBox’s precincts, hours after the process has started they send me an email with some new numeric code, which they demand that I enter to “finish signing in to DropBox.” But…they don’t tell me WHERE to enter it.

So that process, which should have been about 2/3 done by tomorrow morning, is now stopped, and now I’ll have the pleasure of trying to roust a human at DB (good luck with that!) and trying to get him to explain WTF and where the hell I’m supposed to enter this magical number, and then…yes…it will be another 24 hours before my files are synced.

Yeah.

Y’know what?

I. want. my. Smith-Corona. back.

The Disenchanted Apple

A black hole into which to pour time…

UGH!! I dislike Apple’s OSX 11.4 .1 (cutely named “El Capitan”) more and more and MORE every day I have to use it.

They broke the photo editing program, which wasn’t good to start with but now is just shit. That image up there?…well, when you import an image from a camera, you HAVE to rename it to find it, but then when you try to export it to a file where you store those sorts of images, the goddamn system just flat will NOT do it. You have to export it to the desktop, then find it (if you can), then copy it (cut it at your peril!), then PASTE it into the goddamn file where you want it. This now leaves you with not one, not two, but THREE space-gobbling images on your hard drive.

Thank you SO much, Apple, you idiots.

Yesterday I went through the tortures of the damned with the iMac, thanks to an Apple tech who simply would not listen to what I was trying to say and…of course…because I did not know exactly how to tell him that my computer could not be updated to the Sierra operating system software.

Here’s the problem: Word will not run on any version of Mac OS higher than 11.4.1. This is because Apple is trying to force everyone to buy its Pages program, which sort of processes words, sort of lays out documents. It’s a pushmi-pullyu that’s nice for hobbyists but will not do for power users.

Like editors. F’r example.

So for around six hundred bucks, a guy came over a few weeks ago and upgraded the MacBook and the iMac to El Capitan, and did a few other things.

The new program is a nuisance that takes some getting used to, but by and large I was coping. Except…

On the iMac, DropBox would not appear in the “Finder” sidebar. “Finder” is a file-management system…it’s been so long since I’ve used Windows, I forget what the equivalent is called, but there is one: a direct analog.

Your DB files and folders should appear arrayed in Finder just as all the other files on your computers do. The computer should “perceive” DB as another disk drive. And yea verily, they were on the MacBook, but the only way I could access DropBox on the iMac was to click on an icon at the top of the Firefox screen. But this did not really access DB: it did not present DropBox’s files as part of the array of the computer’s contents, and very probably (I figured) it also was not allowing Time Machine to back up DropBox.

And it presented yet another goddamn Mac-Hoop-Jump. To get a file or an image into DropBox, first you had to save it to the desktop, then you had to find it there, then you had to copy it, then you had to access DB through this stupid icon, then you had to paste it into DB, then you had to get into DB, then you had to move it to the folder where you wanted it. This was especially annoying when you needed to make JPEGs of checks to deposit, upload them to the bank, and then save the copies of the JPEGs.

So finally I called Apple and asked why this was the case on one computer but not on the other machine, of the same vintage. He said well, the program must have corrupted in the download and probably simply needed to be reinstalled. He proposed to walk me through that but then said I should install Sierra instead.

I said I was told not to install Sierra because my system wouldn’t run on it. Distracted, I forget to say to him what won’t run on it: any Office programs. He badgers me until I agree, stupidly, to do this.

And herein, my little chickadees, lies the problem of aging. If you have aging parents of my type, you should be alert to this kind of behavior. At my age two bad things happen to you:

a) You don’t remember things clearly, especially if they’re even slightly outside your ken.
b) You’re easily talked into things that you don’t need or even want…as any number of scam artists know.

He guides me through setting up the Sierra OS installation and then gets off the phone.

After about an hour of grinding away, I finally remember why we didn’t want this: Word will not work on the damn thing.

Now I get back on the phone to Apple and get another tech. I explain the problem and say I need to revert to Yosemite.

She now puts on the high pressure, trying to persuade me that I don’t need Word or Excel: that Pages and whateverthef*ck is Apple’s answer to Excel will do just fine.

I explain over and over and over and over again that my clients use Word and that I am NOT going to try to do paying work in Pages, which is — I finally say it explicitly to her — a hobbyist’s program like ALL of Apple’s goddamn software and the reason I am NOT going to move my business over to Pages(!!!!) is that all my clients use Word and LaTex and some of them write in Chinese with Chinese characters and I am not going to open some new can of worms trying to edit copy generated in Word for Asian languages in Apple’s dilettante Pages program and try to convert edited and clean copy back into Wyrd from Pages…and no…

…and no…
…and no…
…and no…
…and NO!!!!!!!

Seriously, it takes this kind of argument to persuade her that no, I am not going to abandon Word for Pages, although I would love to have the Pages program for my own little book publishing hobby because that is what it IS, a hobby, but NO, no WAY am I going to use it in my business goddamn it and if she doesn’t help me get the other program back I’m tossing this 27-inch monster in the trash right this instant and driving down to Costco to buy a PC.

Ugh. What a horrible prospect. But we didn’t tell her that.

Finally she gave up and explained that the way to revert is simply to go into Time Machine and have it overwrite the hard disk with whatever it saved from yesterday.

And amazingly, this not only WORKED, it installed DropBox correctly in Finder.

How and why, I do not know and do not want to know. But it took hours and hours. My whole day was eaten up with this hassle, and by about 4 p.m. I was actually in tears.

In the meantime, I was trying to edit a tangled mess of documentation a lovely woman sent me to convert into Chicago style — eight pages of it, convincing me that I need to stick with academic authors and not take on trying to edit other kinds of copy, no matter how much the author is willing to pay.

Where the amateurs are concerned, I think if it’s not a novel or maybe a memoir, I’m not reading it. If, in the absence of a Ph.D., peer review approval, and a university press contract, IF it has footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography, I ain’t reading it. You want me to read your plain-vanilla wannabe novel with the endless strings of “he saids” and the descriptions and the characters rooted deeply in the Western tradition of cliché, fine. But do not think I’m going to read your research project.

Argh argh arrrrghhhhhhhhh!