as useful as the action of random waves
Friday, January 3 2003I'm finding finishing work easily as time-consuming as the more spectacular house construction work (such as wall framing and sheetrocking). Maybe if I had an electric-powered chop saw everything would be proceeding much more rapidly, but armed as I am only with a mitre block and coping saw, I can only trim about three or four openings in a day before the tedium overwhelms me. Then there's the matter of the baseboards, which (though easy to install) have been on a backburner for some time. This reminds me of another thing about finishing work: because it's not essential to the function of a building, it's a terribly easy thing to put off. It's doubtful that I'll ever trim out the closet doors on the inside of the bedroom closet. But back to the matter of the baseboards. Today Gretchen almost ordered me to install them, which seemed strange given how accommodating she's been to my sense of priorities to date. For a moment there I felt like I was nothing more to her than a contractor, a lazy one at that.
I stayed up late into the wee hours working on translating old documents into a modern Microsoft Word format. This was a subcontract with one of Gretchen's clients. I was completely bedeviled by these older formats, none of which either I or Microsoft Word could discern. Word and OpenOffice both tended to crash when I used them to open the files, so I was often forced to edit them as straight text files in Homesite, my favorite text editor since 1996. There I could hit them with some serious multi-line ASCII-code-level search and replaces. I've used Microsoft Word so little since Macintosh version 5 (circa 1992) that I barely know how to operate the latest version, and I find the things it automatically does to my documents about as useful as the action of random waves upon one of my sand castles. As for its superficially-snazzy search and replace, I can't get it to do anything useful. Why can't I just copy that garbage string I want to search for and paste it into the search form (so I can replace it with a linefeed)?
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