Friday, May 20 2011
The sun came out today, though the day was not without rain. I drove down to Eastern again for a second shot at installing a replacement for a dud Dell Printer (word to the wise: the Dell 5330dn is a piece of crap, subject to mechanical problems that only Dell can fix). As it happened, of course, there were paperwork problems and I couldn't do everything I'd been tasked to do. I'd been given a second Dell 5330dn to install, along with a Hewlett Packard printer so there could be two printers. But the only printer that had been given approval was the HP. Amusingly, the guy working the front desk appeared to be new to the job, to the point where I had more idea of what the gate clearance protocol was than he did. "I think you'll probably have to wand me," I said when I failed the metal detector.
But I got the printer in and, after an hour of figuring my way through the HP's cryptic menu system and determining that an ethernet cable was nonfunctional, I got the printer up and running, at which point the students initiated a deluge of printouts. They weren't going to have to write their papers out by hand after all.
The problem with a succesful afternoon at the prison is that you get out after Bodacious Bagels has closed for the day. There would be no celebratory falafel for me.
This evening while Gretchen was in Woodstock eating with Deborah at the Garden Café, I was eating homemade burritos, drinking alcoholic beverages, and catching up on my DVR'd shows (particularly Mythbusters. During my time in Italy, the DVR had recorded 21 episodes of Parking Wars, a show I no longer had any interest in watching. But deleting all the shows manually seemed like an onerous task. I found, though, that the DVR (a VIP722) had a feature that allowed one to select multiple items and then perform tasks on those items in a batch (similar to highlighting items in a Windows folder and then dragging them to a text editor or trash). So I burrowed down into the hierarchy to the Parking Wars episodes, did a select all, and then initiated a delete. It was only after I'd done this that I realized I'd made a major mistake. "Select all" hadn't just selected all within the hierarchy level (Parking Wars), it had selected all on every show recorded in the file system. When I'd gone to delete, it had asked me if I was sure, but it hadn't provided much information (such as the count of files I was deleting). I'm used to computer file systems, where a select all only selects within the current hierarchy. That's an idiom that dates back to the early years of Unix; you would think that it would apply in the DVR's user interface as well. Alas, it didn't. I didn't know what all I'd deleted, but I was pretty sure Gretchen was going to be mad.
When she returning (bringing home for me, it bears mentioning, a container of delicious white bean soup from the Garden), I broke the news of the DVR fiasco. She took it pretty well, making some changes to her season passes (or whatever they're called on the VIP722) to re-record some of the shows I'd deleted during their rebroadcasts. She also figured she could watch some of the shows online using our media computer; NBC (at least) makes many of its shows available this way.
At least the latest episode of Jeopardy had survived, which gave me something to watch as I ate the bean soup. As we watched, a moment occurred that showcased the amazing power of the human subconscious. A daily double asked what the common role was between "Val Kilmer, Dennis Quaid, and Kirk Douglas (A frontier dentist)." The most unpleasant of today's contestants wagered $2000 and seemed to be choking as she searched her mind for the answer. "She's urping!" I declared. That was when we learned the answer: Wyatt Earp. There had been just the faintest halo of wisdom around the word "urping" when I'd said it, and I interpreted this to mean that my subconscious knew the answer to that question, but it had been unavailable to my conscious mind. Who knows what kind of mental power we'd have if our subconscious and conscious could just be made to intercommunicate better.
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