Special Pages

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Transatlantic 2-month old

4 days ago, we took our 2-month old across the ocean back home to my parents in England. It was quite the adventure, what with forgotten bus tickets and all. It started trying to shelter in a locked building and then rushing back home for the bus tickets. The bus itself was fine, except for the fact that the bus didn't have a changing table. In the end I had to change her on the seat, which became quite wet. Soon after, my backside became quite wet. Chicago O'Hare airport also was devoid of changing facilities. The best they had was a shelf with no facilities. After security the toilets didn't even have a shelf. I came to realise that businesses cater towards disabilities better than they do towards parents.

The baby took all this in its stride, looking around at the faces and the bright lights. Of course the jetlag afterwards wasn't fun. We recovered quite well, but the baby was on mid-west time. This meant a lot of time up in the night with a baby who still thought it was the afternoon. Overall, travelling with a 2-month old was easier than expected and probably easier than travelling with a 6-month old.

PS Happy New Year

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Winter is here, finally.

Last night, I was going to pst about the absence of Winter and the fact that we hadn't received any snow by the 16th December. I was going to mention the possibility of having my first non-white Christmas in America. Last night, it snowed. It finally feels like Winter. Of course, the next 4 days are well above freezing so that possibilty is still very much alive.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Michael Palin - Halfway to Hollywood

I'm reading the second of Michael Palin's publsihed diaries, titled Halfway to Hollywood. The diary covers the years 1980 through 1988. In it, he describes making various films and branching out away from the Python group. Each member was trying out their own things at this time.

Palin was always my favourote of the Python's. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was his Suffolk connection or vhis love of trains or that he seemed like a reasonable bloke.

But it is not his comments about film and television that I find the most interesting aspect of this book. It is the fact that he details ordinary life in the UK during the 80s, my first decade on Earth. Whilst I don't remember the early part of the decade I do remember the end of it. I find it interesting reading his views about Thatcher and Reagan. He was definitely not a fan of the Tories and often wrote about how the hard work of state employees was being attacked by the Conservatives.

He also writes about international affairs. The following is one such passage

The day after Reagan bombed Tripoli, and after the shock the gradual realisation that not only has Reagan set in train the dreadful prospect of more and more warlike actions, of further reprisals by Libyan fanatics in Europe, and of a generally much less safe world, but that 90% of Americans are behind him! My feelings of revulsion against this dark side of America - the clumsy, ugly face of power without intelligence, the world bully - have quite put me off going over there next week.

I don't know what Michael would be writing in his diary about the world today, but after 25 years it seems nothing has changed at all.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Computer woes - why Best Buy sucks

After I bought my very first computer, I upgraded it on a regular basis. I replaced almost - everything. Hard drive, CD player, RAM, CPU, motherboard, sound card, graphics card, etc. The only part I didn't upgrade was the floppy disk drive. The computer was still working when I left for the US 8 years after my final changes.

In the US I decided to buy a new PC from scratch without having to build one. I got a warranty for it so that the Geek Squad (Best Buy's computer service squad) could fix it when it went wrong.

It shipped with a defective processor so the warranty was used straight away. I took it back to Best Buy. They shipped it off to the service centre instead of dealing with it in house. This is usual. It takes a week to ship there and a week to ship back and a week scheduled to fix. So, every time you have to send your computer back to them you're without it for at least three weeks.

In early November my graphics card died. I took it to Best Buy where the Geek Squad guy told me it was a driver problem and that he would update the driver for $30. No thanks. I went home and updated the driver. The graphics card was still faulty so I took it back to the shop. I waived my right to have my data backed up for $100. I had done it myself and it was only a graphics card problem anyway.

Nearly a month later I am informed that they couldn't fix the machine (all they had to do was install a new graphics card) and that they had classed it as junk. Don't worry, they would send me a new one. What a joke. I don't want a new computer, I want my old one back. Now, if I hadn't backed up my data I would be really annoyed right now. I'm still annoyed somewhat though. I'm sure I signed my rights away when I sent it off, but the employee could have mentioned that there was a chance that I wouldn't see my machine every again. I can't believe that there are no working parts to the computer. Do  I not get my RAM back, or my hard drive? What a waste.

Next time I'm building my own.