computer is too weak
Friday, April 12 2013
It was a rainy morning and I didn't manage to extract myself from bed until after 11:00am. It turns out that if you stay in bed after you're fully awake, you will eventually get drowsy and sleep through another part of the morning, particularly if there is the pitter-patter of rain on the gutters (a sound I love).
Today I decided not to consume any form of caffeine to recreationally see what would happen. Normally I consume somewhere between five and ten cups of black tea (but no coffee) every day, and its caffeine content is considerable, so I expected a certain amount of withdrawal. The headaches began in the mid-to-late afternoon, but they never got so bad that I couldn't do what I normally like to do: a little web development here, a little obsessive web consumption, and (the way it's been of late) a little flying around in the virtual world of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Today I decided to install the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV (available for free, as all the cool kids know, on Bittorrent). While GTA San Andreas was modeled on California and Nevada, GTA-IV's virtual world resembles New York City. GTA IV was released way back in 2008, but despite being over four years old, it turned out none of my video cards were powerful enough to play it smoothly on even my most powerful machine, Woodchuck. To play it, I'd have to buy a high-end video card of 2008 vintage at the minimum, which even today would set me back $2001. This was, I think, the first time in recent memory I've been unable to successfully run a program because of an underpowered computer; I think the last time this happened my most powerful computer was 20 MHz Macintosh IIsi, I was trying to run Adobe Photoshop 2.5, and the year was 1993.
As you may recall, Gretchen is taking prednisone to treat a pinched nerve in her neck. I managed to destroy (or otherwise render uningestable) some of the prednisone tablets the other day as part of a cat shit cleanup fiasco. We'd then tried to get replacements from 1800PetMeds.com, but even veterinary prednisone requires a prescription, so in the end Gretchen got her brother to write her a script. Today I drove into Uptown Kingston to pick up that bottle of pills. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't aware that there was a bunch of construction going on at the corner of Washington and Front Street and so ended up on an absurdly-long detour through the rotting nieghborhoods south of Uptown. I should mention that the Hurley Avenue approach to Kingston has an interesting feature these days: the Citgo gas station and convenience store next to the Catholic high school, the place where I used to get most of my Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale and pump most of my gas2, is now a burned-out hulk. A fire destroyed the building maybe six weeks ago3, and of course everyone who talks about it assumes that it was an insurance fire; it was not a particularly good site for a gas station.
At the bottom of Dug Hill Road, there was a bunch of Black Locust logs on the shoulder of the road. They'd even been bucked to woodstove lengths. Knowing they'd be there, I'd taken the Subaru, and I managed to collect a good number of these bucked pieces in the way back while Ramona wandered around in the road. (Don't worry; cars cannot go quickly on this stretch of road.)
This evening our houseguest Joseph was trying to get his shit together so he could visit his uncle and aunt down in Westchester County, but his car battery wasn't holding a charge and I had to give him a jump start. I also loaned him the jumper cables, though it's doubtful that he would know enough to not mix up the positive and negative cables (indeed, judging by the first season of Gold Rush: Alaska, knowledge of how to hook up jumper cables can't even be assumed for middle-aged blue collar types.
Since moving into out basement, Joseph's bathroom has been the one where I like to take my baths (it's the only thing I do in that bathroom). Usually it's a pretty nasty place, with a pronounced tub ring and spigs of hair (pubic, facial, and head) sprinkled here and there. Nasty wads of hair end up in the toilet, where they stick to the inside of the bowl and remain after repeated flushings. I'd cleaned all of this up before Joseph arrived, and I hadn't used the bathroom since. But with him gone for the weekend, I could finally take a bath (and shave my face for the first time in a week). This time, though, I had to be sure to clean the tub after I was finished.
Gretchen was on something of a Mad Men marathon this evening, watching three episodes at the end of Season V one after the other. I watched a couple of them and was finding it all considerably more interesting than it had been in the middle of Season III, where both Gretchen and I gradually lost interest in that mid-century collection of sociopaths.
1The best video card I have in Woodchuck is a GeForceGT 430, and for playing GTA IV a 512MB ATI 3870 is recommended, though I notice it is only about 15% faster on the Passmark score; perhaps my computer was trying to make it play on a screen attached to one of my GeForce 9400 GT cards, which is about a third the speed of the recommended card. But now I've looked up GPU-Z scores for the RadeonHD 3870 and see that in most metrics (aside from texture fillrate) it is about three times as fast as my fastest card.
2In support of Hugo Chavez; Citgo is a Venezuelan company.
3Wow; local reporting is non-existent on the web: I can find no links.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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