Another Computer Kerfuffle Or Ten


I was alerted on my Windows 10 computer (now with the Creators update) that it wanted to update a driver or two, and it needed to reboot.

So it did. My machine, which usually boots very quickly, sat there for a good 20 minutes not moving from its starting screen. Luckily, I’d been down this road before a couple of years ago.

My solution was to reinstall Windows, even though I had an ISO file on my hard drive ready to go. In the “fog of war” I had forgotten it was there, and I’ve since moved it over to a thumb drive in case of a further emergency.

The bad news with the reinstall is that all the programs that didn’t come with Windows were wiped, and most had to be installed again. I cleared some time to reinstall the printer, which I thought would be a real bitch.

Five hours later, and trying to figure out why the drivers in the installation disc wouldn’t install, I discovered why the printer and computer weren’t talking to each other. The drivers weren’t wiped with the reinstall. All I had to do is tell the computer where the printer was.

The machine again works well, although it’s now an “old fart” in computer years. Most hard drives die in two years. I’ve had this machine almost four and a half. It’s now survived two scares, and it still goes.

“We’ll do it live… WE’LL DO IT LIVE! F*** IT! DO IT LIVE… look, I’ll write it and we’ll do it live! F***ing thing SUCKS!”

Bill O’Reilly, talk show host, 1949-, on the set of news show Inside Edition

Just Another Major Malfunction

When I woke up yesterday morning and heard that disgraced former football player Aaron Hernandez had killed himself in prison, I have to admit that I was surprised.

Not totally shocked, mind you. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to football players doing crazy things in their lives.

Does it add to the idea that these guys take too many shots to the head in their careers? Probably. But that, as they say in the Godfather movies, is the business they chose.

Researchers have made great strides in the past few years on the whole CTE/brain damage playing football issue. But I imagine this is something that’s going to take years to fully figure out. Until then, I see a few more “major malfunctions” as was the case with Mr. Hernandez. His suicide was a senseless waste of human life already wasted by committing murder, but at least the taxpayers won’t be further burdened paying for his room and board.

His life has come to a close.

The So-Called Friendly Skies

I can’t say I was shocked to recently hear about the doctor who was dragged off of a United flight due to overbooking. I’ve only flown 11 times in my life, the last time was in 1999, more than two years before 9/11 changed everything. 

It’s not that I don’t like flying. One of my cousins is a very successful airline pilot for one of the major North American companies. I just always thought the companies in general tend to think their poop doesn’t stink, and this thinking began a few decades ago. 

In 1996, I flew from Las Vegas to Atlanta via Delta. I enjoyed my brief stay at McCarran airport, complete at the time with a Taco Bell open for breakfast, long before that became a normal thing. 

The Delta desk had something I’d never before seen to that point: a line monitor, actively inquiring as to what flight they were on, what time it was leaving, and the like. On the surface, it seemed superfluous, as I’d be giving this info when I reached the counter. 

But she had this look about her which I read as if she was saying, “Don’t mess with me, young man.” Probably a nun in another life, I guessed to myself. Considering I wanted to get to Atlanta that particular Friday in June, I did what I was asked and told.

I can only imagine what things are like now in the post 9/11 world, where all travelers seem guilty until proven innocent. 

When It Hit The Fan

Yesterday, I was talking about how I would deliberately miss school in the first semester of the 1988-89 school year, when I was a senior at Largo High School. I can’t mention how lucky I was to have skipped school and NOT mention what happened when my luck ran out. And take it for me, when you think you’re getting away with something, don’t push your luck, as the universe always seems to find ways to balance things out beyond what you think you can fathom.

My parents weren’t really all too concerned about my school progress. They briefly separated when I was in middle school, then did so again for a few months in 1987 before coming back together. My mother left and got an apartment in nearby Indian Rocks Beach, living with her brother (and my uncle) at the time. In the spring of 1989, my Dad had a heart attack, forcing him into retirement from working as a butcher at a small store in Redington Beach, another nearby town. I’d work with him in the summer part-time.

They really didn’t pay attention to when report cards got released, and several days would go by from the time I’d get them to the time I’d ask for them, and I’d only give it to them when they requested. I somehow learned that bad news traveled fast, so you keep it to yourself until it’s asked for.

When the second semester began in early 1989, I was doing just well enough to pass classes. When my parents asked me for my latest report card and probably saw the eight absences I had without their knowledge, I could see what was coming, and it was trouble in River City. After the ensuing lecture, I was told that from now on, when I did homework or had to study, I had to do it in public view and not in my bedroom as I had been doing.

Whatever they said worked. I made the honor roll (making all A’s and B’s, with the allowance of making a C in one class) all three grading periods in that semester. If I missed a class that half of the year, it was for something that really happened, but it happened rarely if at all. I don’t think I did as well on the end of semester exams, but by that point, I had done so well that it didn’t mathematically matter. I was going to graduate.

The lecture gave me the “shot of adrenaline” I needed to finish my scholastic career strong. It would have been a total embarrassment had I failed enough classes in my final semester not to have graduated, but I always did just well enough to squeak by up to then.

Again, I was lucky when luck was all I had. If there’s a moral of the story, it’s not to depend on luck all of the time, because if that’s all you have, it can run out on you.

What Is The Reason For Your Truancy?

Over the weekend, Facebook reminded me of a scan I posted on there back in 2009 of my senior class, gathered in a patio outside of the school gym in the fall of 1988.

I’m not in the pic, because that was one of eight school days I chose to miss in the first half of the school year. That year, they had changed the rules over absences. In prior years, even if you took a single day away from school, you had to have a note from a parent explaining why you weren’t at school. In the 1988-89 school year, you just came back without explanations being necessary. You could elect to take 9 days off without penalty. The 10th such day off meant you failed all you classes for that semester.

And so, I wound up playing a lot of hooky that fall. I didn’t have any sisters or brothers, and my mother and father each went to work before I had to leave for school, and I always got back home when I went to school before they did. I wouldn’t make a lot of noise in the house, finding ways to entertain myself watching TV or listening to the radio quietly. I didn’t dare go out those days, lest anyone else catch me playing hooky and reporting that around, leading to a chain reaction of events where this gets back to my parents.

There was one Friday that I played hooky in the late fall, and then went to school to watch some sporting events at night. I may have had some PA announcing duties that day (back then, I did the PA for JV football, boys basketball, and girls soccer), but I don’t remember. I just got curious (and a little stir crazy, probably) to see if anyone would catch on. A few of my classmates knew I wasn’t at school that day, but no one in authority seemed to notice or care.

I was lucky. I should have gotten busted somewhere along the way, but it never happened. It seems I’ve always been smart enough to con people, but never smart enough not to.