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Substrate

February 8, 2011

I didn’t mean to disappear for several days. Some of it’s due to busy-ness, but mostly it’s just that after the drama of the last week, I’m feeling like I don’t have much to say about the return to normality. Here is the long and short of it.

• I’m spending too much time on computer network tasks and not enough time on the dissertation. We bought Mr. Spy a new laptop yesterday. His has been dying a slow death but we’ve been putting it off, partly for financial reasons and partly because Mr. Spy is somewhat suspicious of technology and doesn’t like change. Even just trying to get him to update his software on a regular basis is a problem. But in what could only be a sign from the powers that be that it was time for a new one, a freak grocery accident led to an explosion of root beer — something we almost never buy, but had brought home for AJ to celebrate the Super Bowl, which he’s very excited about — that landed mostly inside his keyboard. Amazingly, after mopping up, destickifying it as best I could and drying things out sealed in a bag with packets of dessicant taken from a couple of bags of sushi nori, I was able to get the computer to restart. But the keyboard was still very sticky underneath and making alarming crunching noises when typing. I spent most of yesterday transferring things — the nice simple transfer method I used when I got my laptop wouldn’t work with his, so I had to do it manually — and loading software on his computer and updating the software on mine. There is still more to do, but it will be stretched out over the next few days. After that, I’m hoping to mine his computer for parts that will allow me to fix up my old laptop for AJ. We’ll see when I have time for that.

• I am still obsessed with Jim White and am quite proud of myself for transcribing my first guitar tab for “A Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes,” which his coming along quite nicely and is just the right amount of “more difficult” than the things I’ve been working on. It’s a sketchy tab — I can’t get all the notes in the real thing, but it’s enough to sound like the piece. Maybe in a year or two I’ll be comfortable enough with it that I’ll be able to sing along. I took my tab off the video I posted in the comments last week, but the version I actually own is down a fourth, which means I need to write a second version — playing it down a string sort of works, but some retuning is required and some moving of low notes. The process is interesting to me, as is the video of Jim White playing the song. I find it so challenging and my fingers are stretching and straining to reach the notes I need. But he is so passive, looking straight out, his fingers moving so lightly that it looks effortless and almost motionless.

• Yesterday, I received a letter from my brother’s family written on January 11 from Cairo. It was striking to read about all the normal activities, no mention of unrest just days before the protests. Just news of all the normal things they were doing. It made me a little sad.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    February 8, 2011 3:00 pm

    Wow – it took a month? I suppose it left the country before the protests?

    My new laptop might be arriving today and I am not looking forward to setting it up and making it talk to the printer and all the wifi stuff I know nothing about, etc. Maybe you could come over and do it for me. I’d pay you. And feed you. Whatdaya say?

  2. February 8, 2011 5:05 pm

    It’s postmarked 1/24, so it sat for a while on the Cairo end — non-essential mail waits until mail pouches are full and then they’re shipped, possibly on a slow boat to China. Sometimes it takes a while. Except at Christmas, when they try to get things there and back more quickly. I’ll be right over, as soon as I find that wormhole. But seriously, if you run into trouble, feel free to email or call me for tech support. I’m happy to try to help long distance.

  3. February 9, 2011 4:36 pm

    I work for food! I cannot vouch for my skills, but if you feed me enough…

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