Why Won’t My Keyboard Button Thingamajig Work?

SwampMan was complaining loudly to himself. “This button USED to work, but NOOOOOOO. It doesn’t work now. It hasn’t worked for a long time through different computers, and I’d like to know why the hell not!” STABSTABSTABSTABSTAB at the button because physical abuse always makes electronic things work.

“Did you look it up online?” I asked, rudely interrupting his soliloquy cuss session.

“No. What good would that do? It has been a long time since that thing worked.”

“So I heard. Is it your new keyboard?”

“No, damnit. The button hasn’t worked for YEARS. This is a new keyboard.”

“So, what version of Windows you got?”

“Windows XP.”

Ah, yes. He’d ordered a refurbished computer for his shop because he wanted to keep XP; his house computer also has XP. It makes moving things back and forth easier. I’d been typing into the search engine while we were speaking and had the answer in about ten seconds. “Well, there’s your problem right here. That button doesn’t work directly with XP.”

SwampMan muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “bullshit”.

“Humor me. Hit the button, then press start, then all programs, then accessories….”

He stabbed the keys with unnecessary vigor following my directions, then there was a muttered “Well I’ll be a (very rude and offensive expletive)!”

Ah, apparently we were successful in our endeavor.

“Isn’t it interesting”, I continued, “what we find out if we actually look it up?”

More muttered rude words. Not to worry, though. Tomorrow he’ll probably be saying something like “Isn’t it INTERESTING how much money we can save if we do not hit things with a hammer when they malfunction?” to me, unless he recalls in time that his knees have been malfunctioning for years.

Ah, well. He may still be a little aggravated at me from earlier today. He was worrying aloud about the CNC not working with the new (refurbished) computer, mentioned how he had checked settings several times, and was just about to start checking all his connections to make sure he had power to all of them.

“Oh!” I remarked helpfully, although he had not asked for any. “Did you check to see if you have enough RAM?”

He actually rolled his eyes at me. “What, do you think I’m stupid? Of COURSE!”

“Did you reconnect everything to see if it worked with the old computer again after you got everything disconnected and reconnected to the new computer and it didn’t work?” I’m definitely not a repairman, and I am lazy, so I like to make sure that what I’m putting forth a lot of effort and brainwork into is actually the problem.

He blinked. “Well, no….”

“It’s just me, but I’d like to make sure that the computer or a cable isn’t the problem first before I go tearing things down.” SwampMan likes to tear things down. Well, so do I, but all that is left are teensy little molecule-sized pieces when I do it. He actually takes things apart and puts them back together in working condition, and I just gaze at him adoringly because he’s my hero.

“I never even thought of THAT because everything is supposed to be new. Good idea!”

It turned out that it was a dead parallel port in the refurbished computer. SwampMan throws NOTHING away because he may need it someday. He’s got eight or so old computers sitting around to strip parts out of. He’s very happy that he gets to tear down things after all.

Against all Odds

I wanted to share a story from one of our Contributors, Swampwoman. She and her husband are educators in the state of Florida. It’s obvious from reading their story that they are very interested in providing opportunities for their students to learn, even when others have given up on them. (courtesy GCP)

SwampMan and I had worried about what had happened to a former student for years. As a child, he’d been subjected to the most horrific physical and sexual abuse at the hands of those who should have protected him. His mom, also a victim, was helpless to protect him, herself, or the younger ones. As he grew older, he was small and thin and could go into rages when provoked. He was bullied/provoked relentlessly in school and fought back violently. He was often in trouble.

He was an ESE student. I helped him with his reading. I thought he was brilliant and creative and told him so frequently. He had a gift for writing and WHAT an imagination! My heart ached for the gentle, sensitive young man I could catch glimpses of underneath the sullen, combative exterior of a middle schooler that should be in high school.

SwampMan REALLY worried about him. He tutored him. He listened to his problems. He did not report things that probably would have gotten him arrested, suspended, and some mandatory jail time, preferring to handle it himself and talk with the young man.

Then something really bad happened and he was removed from his home and school. We didn’t know where he had been placed or what had happened to him until he graduated, then he came back to the school and told SwampMan how he was a better dad to him than his dad had ever been.

We saw him this evening at a fast food establishment. He came to our table to tell us how much we meant to him. He brought his manager out and told her how we never stopped believing in him. He showed us his car, and told us how proud he had been to cook our food. We are so proud of him!

So many kids that we’ve known with backgrounds like his are dead or in prison. We’ve so happy that he’s getting along fine, even in this crappy economy, holding a job, and being a productive member of society. The slight young man is now a well-muscled, confident, handsome man.

Well done.

Happy New Year!

Before I venture out into the new year with buckets of feed, I want to wish each and every reader and Nuke, no2liberals, and Robert D Happy New Year, with the wish that all y’all have a happy, healthy, and rewarding year to come.

Now, on to those New Year’s resolutions. Hmmmm. Let me see, what should be first on my list? It should probably be achievable, which probably means I should cross out doing the P90X workout every single day until I have a slim, trim, toned hourglass figure. Riiiiiight. I have time fitting in a shower on some days. Plus I don’t actually HAVE the P90X workout on account of I don’t spend money on me, and SwampMan wisely refrained from giving me anything that would give the barest hint that maybe I am not absolutely perfect just the way I am. Okay. Maybe my resolution will be to achieve a beer keg figure this year. I think I can do it!

I would like to resolve that I will no longer be savagely bitten at work (ruefully rubbing left forearm where the underlying flesh is still crushed and painful after two weeks), but……that ain’t gonna happen unless I don’t go to work anymore. Hmmmmm. Sounds like a resolution to me! *sigh* SwampMan says NO, I cannot have a I’m Not Going To Work Ever Again resolution. Okay, fine. I resolve that I’m going to change careers this year. (Checking with SwampMan….SwampMan says a career change is a good goal.) Is beach bum a career?

Well, my resolution list is almost complete. I’m going to be a keg-shaped beach bum. I could probably collect money from beach businesses to NOT wear skimpy bathing suits at the beach and scare the tourists away and/or make them swear off food and drink. Sounds like a new business opportunity! I could wear signs saying “I got this body from exercising at __________ and eating at ______________” until they pay me to take their name off. Could be REALLY lucrative.

Here’s hoping that all your dreams are achievable, too!

(Almost) TV-Free Day

Meemaw had it up past her eyeballs, which are pretty far above ground, with little boys watching TV inside during the day. Little boys need to be outside running and playing! Meemaw turned the TV off. “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the cruelest of them all? Meemaw!” Or so you’d think. Picking up lots and lots of toys and blocks and falling over cars while I’m trying to vacuum gives Meemaw a bad attitude. I blame the housework!

At bedtime, little Dylan, who is such an engaging little scamp, asked very nicely if they could have a movie while they fell asleep. “Twansformers, Meemaw? It doesn’t hab any bad words.”

“Yes it DOES!” corrected Jacob.

“I don’t think I want to have little boys watching a movie that has BAD WORDS in it!”

“It doesn’t hab bad words, Jacob. I want to watch the movie!”

“It really does have bad words, Meemaw.”

SwampMan was chuckling in his chair. “Which bad words does it have, Jacob?”

“Papa, I’m not allowed to say those words!”

“I wiw tew you, Meemaw”, said Dylan, twinkling at me. Yes, I’m sure he would.

“Pwease, Meemaw? It doesn’t hab any bwood wike the Ombie movie.”

“ZOMBIES? You watched a Zombie movie? Zombies are waaaaay too scary for me. Meemaw doesn’t want to see ANY movies with blood.”

“It had wots of bwood and bad words. It scare me.”

“Well, we are NOT watching a zombie movie.”

“Okay, Meemaw. Twansformers doesn’t have any bwood in it and it’s not scawy.”

So the boys and the Foster Dog (named Sally by Jacob) are watching Transformers in the living room. Meemaw got outmaneuvered by a 3-year-old. Again.

So, We Took the Grandsons to Red Lobster

SwampMan decided, since he was going into surgery Monday and would not be visiting restaurants for awhile, that he wanted to go to Red Lobster. Besides, he had been laboring mightily over my van (still not in actual operating condition) in 102-degree record heat, and he needed a reward. It was 3:00. We absolutely positively had to get the kids no later than 5:00 so Daddy could meet his unit to go off for two weeks with the National Guard. Mommy was at work on the other side of town, so Daddy absolutely relied on us. We were on the road, but still were 30 minutes away from Red Lobster. We were 45 minutes away from grandchildren.

SwampMan had asked me, before we left, where I wanted to eat. “Anywhere you want!” Okay, so I figured somewhere quick where we could drive through and get our food (grin) on the way to get the kids. “NO! I want to eat somewhere YOU want where we actually get to SIT DOWN and have people wait on us!”

“Okay, fine. How about Sonny’s BBQ?” They’re fast, good, and relatively inexpensive.

“I thought you liked Longhorn. You wanna go to Longhorn Steakhouse?”

“Uh, sure. I’ll go, if you think we have time.”

“Well, I don’t want to go there. I want the garlic crab and shrimp pasta at Red Lobster.”

It is a good thing that mentally banging a head on the wall doesn’t leave marks!

I pointed out to SwampMan that unless we could get in, order, eat our food, and get out of Red Lobster in 30 minutes (HA!), we were going to be really pushing the time on picking up the grandkids. “But I WANT Red Lobster!” “Well, we’ll just take the kids with us!” says I, ever the optimist. SwampMan was somewhat more sceptical but his Red Lobster craving was not to be denied. He agreed, reluctantly, to pick up the kids first, expressing his hope out loud to God that he wasn’t screwing up.

MeeMaw told the grandkids that we were going to go to a restaurant where they got to go inside and sit down and people ask them what they want to eat. Papa asked them if they remembered going to a restaurant where somebody asked them what they want. “SURE!” said Jacob. “McDonald’s!” Heh. Papa explained that this was a seafood restaurant. “Do you know what that is?” “Do they have shrimp?” asked Jacob. “YES!” “Good, cuz I looooove shrimp!” Dylan said that he did not like shrimp. Papa said that they also have fish. Dylan said that he didn’t like fish, either, with a challenging stare at Papa which, since Papa was driving, he fortunately did not see. Dylan had not had his nap so he was a leeeetle bit grumpy. He soon fell asleep.

When we arrived, I woke him and gave him an abbreviated set of MeeMaw’s Rules, which consisted of sitting quietly with feet under table, bottom in chair, and no loud talking.

When we got inside and were looking over the menu, I found that I had left a few things off of MeeMaw’s Rules. Things like no enumerating every place where he had ever pooped in the potty at in his loud, carrying voice. Things like no burping loudly at the table. The Rules were quickly amended on the spot. “I have to PEEPEE in the potty!”

The very nice and pretty young lady that waited our table brought crayons. Dylan decided to draw poop since MeeMaw wouldn’t let him discuss it. I made Jacob’s shrimp order (with fries!) for him. He asked if he could have chocolate milk. The young lady assured him she would mix some up personally for him. Dylan said he wanted chocolate milk, too, and wice. “Do you want chicken with your rice?” I asked. “No. Just wice.” “How about fish?” “NO! Just wice!” The sweet and pretty waitress asked him if he wanted macaroni with his rice. “Yes! And I HAVE TO POOPOO IN THE POTTY!” Jacob accompanied us. SwampMan and I got our salads. I ate a few bites of salad. Jacob colored quietly. Dylan announced “I don’t wike sawad!” Our appetizer came. Jacob colored quietly. Dylan smelled it. “I don’t wike it! Where’s my wice?” “They’re cooking your wi–uh, rice.” “It takes a long time to cook wice?” “Yes, yes it does.” Dylan told me that he liked wice. And noodles. And cheeseburgers. And boogers. Another rule: No eating boogers. I hurriedly snarfed down a couple pieces of my appetizer. “I have to PEEPEE IN THE POTTY!” We went potty again. When we came back, SwampMan had eaten my appetizer. I told him next time, he goes on the potty run. He declined. He said if I had wanted my appetizer, I should have put it all on my plate. I pointed out that I didn’t have a chance! He said that was no excuse. The cheese biscuits were delivered. Jacob didn’t want one. I gave one to Dylan. He smelled it. He licked it. I firmly told him we do not lick biscuits, we eat them, and tore off a piece. He liked it! He then told me he needed a knife to cut it. I told him there was no way that MeeMaw was going to allow him to have a knife. Ever. “I can cut it with my hands?” “Yes!” “Okay.”

Our food came. Jacob pronounced his fries and popcorn delicious. Dylan looked at his food. “I don’t wike macawoni!” he declared. What a surprise! He looked suspiciously at his wild rice pilaf. “Somebody put SAWAD in my WICE!” There were teensy chopped carrot pieces in there. And a little greenery sprinkled over the top. *sigh* “Just pick out the salad and eat your rice!” He did. He ate half the rice and half a cheese biscuit. “Meemaw, I finished!” Meemaw was shoveling in food at a frantic pace while Papa had a leisurely lunch/dinner. “Well, you will need to sit quietly while Meemaw finishes!” I have to PEEPEE IN THE POTTY, MEEMAW! “We will go peepee when Meemaw eats her food.” Papa was over on the other side of the table murmuring “never again!” to himself. I told the boys how well behaved they were and how proud I was of them. THEY didn’t eat my appetizer while I was taking the boys to the bathroom. The very nice lady bagged up our leftovers while I was escorting boys to the bathroom again.

It only took us an hour and a half in Red Lobster. It just felt like an eternity!

The BP Well Disaster:Compromised “Down Hole”

I just finished this rather lengthy article at The Oil Drum and it paints a much bleaker picture of the ramifications of this disaster.

What is likely to happen now?

Well…none of what is likely to happen is good, in fact…it’s about as bad as it gets. I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together. This is evidenced by the tilt of the blow out preventer and the erosion which has exposed the well head connection. What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over if they do not run supports to it as the currents push on it. I suspect they will run those supports as cables tied to anchors very soon, if they don’t, they are inviting disaster that much sooner.
———————-
All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit…after that, it goes into the realm of “the worst things you can think of” The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying out…as I said…all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn’t any “cap dome” or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now?….is the only real chance we have left to stop it all.
———————–
We can only hope the race against that eventuality is one we can win, but my assessment I am sad to say is that we will not.

The system will collapse or fail substantially before we reach the finish line ahead of the well and the worst is yet to come.

Sorry to bring you that news, I know it is grim, but that is the way I see it….I sincerely hope I am wrong.

We need to prepare for the possibility of this blow out sending more oil into the gulf per week then what we already have now, because that is what a collapse of the system will cause. All the collection efforts that have captured oil will be erased in short order. The magnitude of this disaster will increase exponentially by the time we can do anything to halt it and our odds of actually even being able to halt it will go down.

The magnitude and impact of this disaster will eclipse anything we have known in our life times if the worst or even near worst happens…

This is not my area of expertise and I certainly hope he is wrong. If he isn’t, we are witnessing the destruction of a vital sector of our nation and the lives of millions of people.

Tales from Kindergarten and First Grade

“Jeeeeeesus Christ, this is BULLshit!” said the cute little kindergarten boy with big brown eyes and a truculent expression. Papers and crayons had just been passed out to color circles in either red or blue, depending on the colors of the circles above the blank circles, the purpose of which is to work on developing pattern recognition and not to torture little kindergarten boys.

So far this week, I have been kicked, hit, spit at, had green snot sneezed all over me, had shoes thrown at me, and told how much I am hated. I’ve also been hugged, kissed, and told “I love you!” and, a high point, have not (yet) been thrown up on or had to change poopy pants. (These are developmentally delayed children; one is not “potty” trained.)

After explaining to the cute little kindergarten boy that first we do our work, then we play, he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “ain’t no bitch gonna tell ME what to do”.

Sigh. It’s gonna be a loooooong year.

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