Coffee heat rising

The Biggest Bugaboo of Hallowe’en…

Tax records.

Actually, the real biggest bugaboo this year was covid-19, which pretty much put the eefus on Hallowe’en in our neighborhood. Over in lower Richistan, the young parents insisted on entertaining Hallowe’en tricksters and treaters, many of them creating hilarious long ore slides through which they could deliver candy without having to get close to the kiddies and the teenagers. But over here in the peanut gallery, most people simply shut down their property. I turned off the lights and hunkered down in the back of the house, and noticed that most of the houses around me were darkened, too.

Usually Mr. & Mrs. WonderAccountant host a little party on their driveway. Ruby and I go over there and hang out all evening, and a great deal of fun is had by all. The kids are such a kick in their costumes, and they’re usually accompanied by adults who are commensurately decked out. But this year, even if the WonderAccountants hadn’t decided to opt the festivities…well…with a shiny new life-threatening condition, I surely can’t afford to expose myself to a disease that is likely to carry me away, just for the fun of handing out candy to a bunch of strangers’ kids in costumes.

That notwithstanding, I left a big box of candy out on the sidewalk for passers-by. Usually when you do that, someone will steal the whole thing. Not even the thieves were out and about! 😀 The junk was still out there this morning, and now I’ll have either to throw it away or to donate it to some charity. Personally, encouraging kids to eat that crap is agin’ my religion, so I’ll probably toss it.

Meanwhile, we’re nigh unto the end of the year, and so it’s time to organize this year’s transactions for WonderAccountant’s delectation. Arrrhhhhhh!!! How I hate that task!!!!!

And THAT is the Biggest Bugaboo of Hallowe’en! Eeeeeek!!!

After last year’s torture, I decided I would download and organize a month’s worth of transactions at a time, so that by the end of the year only one miserable month’s worth would await.

But no. Not a chance. I am simply too, toooo lazy to force myself to attend to an aversive task on a regular basis. Plus it’s been a bit of a shitty year health-wise, and so I surely haven’t felt like farting with that garbage. From what I can tell, I kept up with the credit-union transactions through the end of May and the AMEX transactions…well, not at all. I’ve only got one AMEX download: May through June.

It will take hour after hour after brain-numbing HOUR to download these hundreds and hundreds of transactions and organize them by category in Excel.

This used to be an easy task in Quicken. But the program I was using turned out not to be compatible with newer Mac operating systems, so about all I can do is track the stuff in Excel and then pass the Excel files along to WonderAccountant. She can access my CU statements, but of course she has no idea how to categorize about 95% of that stuff. To save her time and my money, I really need to do the scutwork myself.

Ohhh gawd!

You know…as my time on this earth grows shorter and shorter, my patience with things electronic grows shorter, too. I am SO goddamn sick of hassling with computers! And wrangling data. And trying to overcome every damnfool new “improvement” and “update” foisted on us, most of which are far from improvements but represent some new headache. The last thing on this earth I want to do is spend several hours a day the next three or four weeks wrestling with data from the credit union, from American Express, from Medicare, and in Excel.

Well, with any luck at all, given the current state of affairs, maybe this will be the last thing I’ll have to do in that department.

Thank heaven for small blessings…

Cox the Feeble…America the Disconnected?

Live-Blogging in the Disconnect Mode…

Along about 6 p.m., a little rain started to sprinkle. I’m playing with the computer, my usual pastime, thinking I should get up and turn on the PBS Gnus by way of catching up with the day’s antics in Washington. In passing, as the drizzle begins, the lights blink almost off and back on, so fast and so subtly it’s barely noticeable.

This is the second time it’s happened in the past few days. Nothing much ensued the other day, but it’s something I take note of because the house has aluminum wiring. Anything electrical that’s even faintly unusual makes one itch.

But as before, nothing bursts into flames. Yet.

LOL! You think I exaggerate? One of DX-H’s law partners and his wife went out to dinner and a movie one night. After a pleasant evening they came home…to a slab and a pile of ashes.

No joke! The house had burned completely, altogether to the ground.

So electrical glitches elicit some interesting imaginative scenarios.

The laptop has developed a few glitches of its own, of late. So when its Internet connection suddenly went down, just as I was about to pack it in and go turn on the big iMac for the purpose of “television” viewing, I didn’t think much about it. Rebooted. Still offline. Ohhh wellll…I needed to call the Apple Service people for something else, anyhow.

Haul out of the easy chair and away to the office. Fire up the iMac and…yup. DEAD. It, too, is offline.

Clearly, what we have here is another goddamn Cox thing.

Call the Cox 24-hour service that I subscribe to expensively…or try to, anyway. When I pick up the phone, instead of a dial tone I get buzz buzz buzz buzz… Busy signal???! Whaaaa!

Fortunately I happen to have quite a few minutes available on my cell phone. Dial up Cox’s expensive service, from whom, after a couple of transfers, I learn there’s an outage in our area. They expect to have the service back up around 8:00 p.m.

Ducky.

This is classic Cox. Every time it rains, Cox goes down. And it’s not even raining very hard. It’s barely sprinkling out there.

We have only two residential Internet choices here: Cox and CenturyLink, the ghost of the late not-much-lamented Qwest. CenturyLink has a reputation for being even worse than Cox – in fact, by comparison Cox looks good.

 So…if you live in Maricopa County and you imagine that someday you may need to dial 911, you’d bloody well better have a cell phone.

I now have two of the damn things, neither one of which I know how to work. Managed to figure out how to dial a phone number on the new Walmart purchase and got through to Cox’s alleged service department. That would be where the 8 p.m. estimate came from.

To make the present event even more infuriating, the Macs are showing, with their little “radio” icon, that the wi-fi is on. But it ain’t.

Or…lo! Maybe it is!

Yes. It is on. For the nonce.

Knowing Cox’s fine reputation for reliability though, it probably won’t be for long.

😀

Oooohkayyyy…. Yes, the connection is reestablished. But now the iMac WON’T ACCEPT MY PASSWORD to sign back on. God DAMN IT but I hate loathe and despise the techno-dystopia that we live in. Now I’ve got to try to call up Apple on a phone line that may or may not keep working and try to get my computer to come back on.

….

Lo! It’s up. And now we’re watching Hari Sreenivasan holding forth about the Pensacola shooting, reporting in awe that the Saudis who shot up the naval base…oooohhh! watched a shooting video before going on their rampage. Imagine that!

Y’know, Hari’s cute. No: handsome. He emanates smarts. He’s probably the best thing on PBS News. But…really…wouldntcha like to have Walter Cronkite back? David Brinkley? Chet Huntley?

PBS seems to me to be the best news show that’s out there, on the air or in the stream. But dayum! Truth is, the wackshit conservatives are right. It’s politically correct to the point of doctrinaire. It’s surely better than anything else we have these days. But it’s NOT objective. It doesn’t even try to report the news objectively.

{sigh} We live in hopeless times…

And now i want…

a beer…

Just a beer. And a plate of pasta: comfort drink, comfort food.

Finally finished shoveling away the layers and layers of paper that have floated in the door and come to rest atop my desk. Interestingly, the desktop seems to be made of wood…huh! I’d forgotten that.

So gawdawful much paper comes flying in the door or gets dragged into the house in a purse or stuck on the bottoms of my shoes…God only knows how it all it all makes it way in here. I tend to drop it where it arrives: on the dining room table, on a kitchen counter, on the passenger seat of the car, on my desk…on my desk…on my desk….

It took the entire morning to dig the desk out from its current burden of paper, some of it dating back to 2018. About 90% of it is stuff that either needs to be kept or needs to be shredded, so less than a trash-basketful goes to the recycling. {sigh}. Well, except for the stuff you run through the shredder…that, actually, can be composted, if you’re careful to avoid grinding up any of the plastic “envelope windows” that come with some mail.

At any rate, after several hours of sorting, file-folder stuffing, and shredding, boyoboy does that desk look CLEAN. Who’d’ve thunk it was possible?

That notwithstanding, the overall hassle never, ever stops.

This morning the DropBox hassle developed a new twist and turn. I called to tell them I don’t want them to renew my annual subscription for extra space and was horrified to discover that despite my having spent two and a half days transferring 87 berjillion kilobytes to iCloud and deleting said kilobytes from DropBox, the damn stuff is still on DropBox!

That’s right. They keep it as a “back-up” stashed away where you can’t get at it to kill it off.

Augh!

Getting rid of it takes an elaborate techno-hoop jump, following instructions that might as well be in Martian. I tried to reach a techie friend to see if I could hire him (please!) to help, but he’s not answering.

So…what alternative?

American Express, I guess. This is why I persist in using AMEX: like Costco, like Apple, they have superlative customer service. I call and reach a patient CSR. Explain the situation: DropBox is not about to let me off the hook, and I do not want to pay for the extra server space to accommodate data that they will not simply reach out and delete or explain to me in simple terms how to erase.

N-o-o-o-o-o problem, quoth the AMEX dude. He put a block on the next bill from DropBox.

DropBox charges $9.99 per month(!) for a terabyte of storage. Apple is now charging the same, for the same amount of storage — having dropped its price by 10 bucks a month. However, I do not need a terabyte of cloud space: for $2.99 I can get 200 gigabytes. Well, even unedited and un-shoveled out, my DropBox files add up to a mere(!) 160GB. A-n-n-d there’s a LOT of stuff in there that could go away. When I get around to it, I’ll move a pile of superannuated debris off of iCloud, which will free up enough space to last for all of posterity.

Weather is starting to warm up a bit. If I felt like jumping into slightly chilly water, I could plunge into the newly resurfaced pool. But I’m too lazy to get cold just now: bad human.

The watering system is on the fritz. I need to call an irrigation guy to fix it, since all Gerardo seems to do is shut off the valves for the parts that spring a leak, leaving my plants to die. He doesn’t seem to understand — or to care — that a potted plant will die in one day flat if it’s not watered daily once the temps are over about 90 or 95 degrees. So that’s yet another hassle to deal with.

And I do need to find a tree guy to remove the devil-pod tree on the west side, which has become a bit menacing. The US weather service expects this winter’s El Niño to linger over the Pacific through the summer. What meant nice rains in the winter, then, will mean heavy winds and violent monsoons this summer, hiking the risk of that tree breaking and falling on my neighbor’s house or mine. Again, Gerardo said he’d do it…but…no action there. Dayum….just what I need to kill some more time on.

The winter’s rain, though, produced some very gorgeous flowers this spring…

 

Unfortunately these look awful. Somehow the new iCloud thing has f**cked up my photo function. Dammit! Am I ever SICK of this computer bullshit! It just simply never stops!

 

Digital Aversion

They say you should start your work day with the chore you like least. Then you have the worst done and the rest of the day is, as it were, smooth sailing. Thus if you’re in sales, you should start with cold calls. If you’re a lawn man, maybe you should pull out weeds by their roots first thing in the morning.

By that theory, I should be over at Amazon right now, X-ing out my existence as the author of six books and creating a new existence as Roberta Stuart, pornographer par excellence. This is how I should start my day: get the most obnoxious, difficult, hair-tearing, time-sucking job out of the way first.

But as you can see…I’m not there. I’m here. Doing this.

It just makes me cringe.

What an ineffable waste of time. Amazon has decreed that you can’t have more than three pseudonyms, and it has further decreed that any variant of your name is NOT your name but is a “pseuodnym.” (I have three, because my dear parents gifted me with an unpronounceable, weird, and insufferably snooty first name.) So in order to build an “Author Page” to peddle my little company’s Racy Books, I have to sign out as myself and sign in with a new email and create a new persona. Then I have to persuade Amazon that the new persona is me. Then I have to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop, presumably, to get revenues for Camptown Races books directed to the corporate bank account. It is going to be a freaking nightmare and I don’t wanna do it!

I don’t want to do it, because it soaks up time. Needlessly. And time is my only asset with any value!

The only element of my life that’s worth anything is my time. And as the seconds and the minutes pass, I have less and less of it. Every time the sun rises, every time the sun sets, I have less time in my spiritual bank account.

The older you get, the more conscious you grow of that particular little reality.

Hence: digital aversion. NOTHING consumes time more voraciously than these wondrous computer devices, programs, and platforms we all have to deal with, day in and day-a-wasting out.

Every day I have to learn some new program, jump through some new digital hoop, contend with some new hassle. Every hour is at least partly consumed  by watching a computer grind away and grind away and grind away. Some part of every day is absorbed by getting around yet another error message, yet another digital roadblock.

As we speak, I’m hassling with WordPress because it’s decided to hang over the upload of a freaking THUMBNAIL, goddamnit, needed to update the Camptown Races Press site. It’s not like this was a gigantic TIFF here. No. This is a tiny little JPEG. Now I’ve had to crash out of the program, my coffee has gone cold while I’ve wrestled with that sh!t, the page is not updated and for all I know may never BE updated and for the life of me I can NOT figure out how to make   control the amount of air between those damn thumbnail images.

I personally have come to hate it.

Yeah, digital technology has done wondrous things for our ability to communicate and to cope with vast quantities of (largely irrelevant) information. But folks…

Life was better without it.

Speaking of Roberta, that wily and prolific author has emitted another new book:

Veronica & KJ 2Girlfriends LORES

And she would be forever in your debt if you would grab it from Amazon and post a fine review of the thing.