Wednesday, April 18, 2007


My failure to post yesterday was not a moment of silence out of respect for those brutally murdered at Virginia Tech the day before yesterday. I'm still trying to formulate a response to that. It's weird that I experienced a sense of extreme detachment from this event until details about the killer began to emerge. Now I'm feeling anger, outrage...he did more than murder 32 people and wound dozens more. He has hurt America. But more on that in a later post.

No, my silence is because Microsoft Word has completely crapped out on this computer. I was able to revise my résumé on Sunday, but only after several attempts at starting Word from several different directions. When I went to make the revisions mentioned in Monday's post, nothing. Well, worse than nothing: it locked up my computer, leaving the system "dangerously low on resources". Multiple attempts to correct this on Monday yielded nothing. Finally on Tuesday morning I decided it was time for a more drastic course of action.

I am running Windows 98 SE on a 1999-vintage Compaq 7478 which was purchased in 2000. It did not come with Word pre-installed, so I had to buy a Microsoft Works Suite 2000 package at Sam's Club and install Word from there. I still have the discs. So, I decided to do the standard fix for serious Microsoft problems: remove and reinstall.

Neither of which worked properly.

Well, I thought the removal worked properly. But the reinstall "terminated unexpectedly" several times. So did subsequent attempts at re-removing the program.

So how did all this affect my ability to post?

Damned if I know. But somewhere along the line something else began chewing up system resources. Even when I shut down all programs but Explorer, it was still there, making my hard drive tick like a pocketwatch and my mouse move like its paws were coated with gum. A full Scandisk in MS-DOS mode didn't fix the problem, either.

So how am I posting this?

I suspected a virus. My anti-spyware stuff insists that the Word installation disc is infected with a Trojan. I suppose this is entirely possible, that something made seven years ago - even by Microsoft - could have been manufactured and shipped with a virus that was not detectable back then. It's also possible that my anti-spware is just reacting improperly to something from long before its time.

Anyway, I ran a complete virus scan this morning. It came up clean. Nothing. But the ticking stopped. Maybe the thing chewing up resources was my anti-virus program trying to run in the background? But why wasn't it showing up when I checked for running programs?

I don't know. But I'm posting now.

So. Can't revise my résumé, not in Word, not on this computer. I have several options: I could re-write it in WordPad. I could e-mail it or burn it to a disc and get it to my cousin's computer and revise it there. Or I could e-mail it to a prospective employer without the explicit "Continuous Improvement" terminology. I think I may take the third option for at least one employer.


More weird dreams, for the first time in a while. I dreamed I started to get calls from local and national media outlets about this blog. Someone somewhere had cited it in a major publication, and people were calling to get more information. That's kinda weird.

The other one was much, much weirder. I was in Philadelphia, a city I've only been in two or three times in my life. I was meeting with a group of prominent black - er, African American - celebrities. They were inducting me into a secret society called "The Order of the Mop."* (I failed to mention in the earliest verions of this post: This was a formal induction ceremony, black tie, featuring a head table with a podium, all taking place in a second-floor or higher banquet room which was small but elegant.) Each member was given a single strand from a mop and had to keep it on his or her person at all times or face dire consequences. I don't remember who was in the group; there were at least half a dozen people there, but I think they included Al Sharpton, and I know Bill Cosby and Phylicia Ayers-Allen (his wife from The Cosby Show.) Before the induction ceremony properly started there was some cocktail-party chatter about some radical speaker who was coming to town** to propose some extreme social theories involving sexual liberation. After the induction the other members rose to speak, ending with Bill Cosby, who seriously and stridently spoke of the need to silence the radical speaker before he could infect others with his sexually permissive social concepts...and the task of silencing him would fall to the group's newest member. At this point I began to wonder what the hell kind of group I had just joined, and why I was the only white guy there, and why everyone seemed to be a radical Muslim (as evinced by their speeches and the slogans hanging on the walls) when I was pretty sure that at least a few of them were actively Christian in real life. I protested that as a Catholic and a Christian I had an explicit injunction against murder, and why the hell was I in this group anyway, and...well, then I woke up. Weird. Oh, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was tied up in there somewhere, I think as a computer game based on the 2005 movie. What the hell that had to do with anything, I don't know.

So. Let's see if I can keep this computer running long enough to e-mail a résumé.

*Northeastern Pennsylvania has for centuries been nearly a lily-white area. It was settled in the 19th century by Poles, Irish, Germans, Italians, and a few other European immigant groups, and until recently its population was mostly made up of the descendants of those groups. So there's no racist correlation between string mops and African Americans here. The only explicit correlation I can see is from the Chappelle's Show game show "I Know Black People!" reference to "Buffalo Butt", the all-knowing janitor from the 1970's sitcom What's Happening? (or was it Good Times ?) Otherwise most string mops in my experience have been pushed by white guys. (Even in fiction - Cliff Robertson's character in the Flowers for Algernon movie adaptation Charly, or the comic strip character Frazz.)

**I never saw this speaker, but I got the distinct impression he was a white guy from Sweden. And had a mohawk haircut.


Anonymous said...

OK, that's a very weird, but very cool dream. I have no idea what it means. Perhaps you are afraid of black promiscuity, a secret conservative. Order of the Mop? I have no idea what it means, but it sounds pregnant with meaning. Thanks for sharing this dream.

Bill @ BN

D.B. Echo said...

Bill, I've justt ried to clear up a couple of things with some footnotes. I had the impression in the dream that the guy promoting sexual promiscuity was white and from a foreign country - Sweden, I think. The other members of the group were deeply, deeply conservative, in this dream at least. The mop thing was weird. And I didn't mention it, but my strand was unraveling throughout the dream.

Anonymous said...

This dream seems meaningful ... a strand unraveling in particular ... race and color, politics. Perhaps this dream is about a personal conflict, and all these binary oppositions at play in this dream are not political representations, but together represent what should be a kind of civic order, but you're thinking that this order has a chaotic edge ... as shown by the directive to murder someone.

That is, you're dreaming that you are upset about violence, (Va Tech shootings?) and you just want to make love, not war. Either that, or you just want to get some black booty. Or it could be simpler and you could be wondering about a social order that's left you feeling somewhat unraveled at the moment (plus you want to get some black booty).

Or I have no idea what I'm talking about. But that's my best guess. Cheers,

Bill @ BN

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Can you free up resources on your computer by deleting some old files and removing programs you don't use anymore (she asked knowing that she knows very little about computers)?

Again I ask, what are you doing each night before you go to bed?!

Anonymous said...

Try open office:

It's completely free, and is 100% better than Microsoft Word, is Word document compatible, and is set up almost exactly like Word, but without the garbage Microsoft puts in their software to keep it proprietary, spyware-y, and trojan-friendly.

I've been using it for years and there's no reason to buy Microsoft's word processing/spreadsheet software ever again.

D.B. Echo said...

Whim, that's part of what did me in. I was trying to free up hard drive space to make room for my swap file (which I believed was the problem) by burning unused MP3s to discs and getting them off my hard drive. I've got over a Gig of free space (on a 20 GB hard drive) but now I've got that weird background thing running.

As for what I'm eating - this time, nothing. I had had some bean soup at about 6:00, but nothing afterwards. I even napped briefly while Scandisc was running - I woke up at 1:00 in the morning and was in bed by 1:30 or so. The only new factor: I had put a dab of Neosporin on a crack on the side of my lip.

Hmmm...Neosporin...I had been using that a while back...I'll try to keep note of whether there's a correlation...