So you think you have problems

Just so you know I am not a techie or a geek. Normally I boot my computer up and hope that the steam will take it to full throttle. Oh, you say, computers don’t run on steam. Mine does. Else what is that mist coming out of its sides?

The other day I had a bit of trouble with my internet. My comp wasn’t wifi-ing correctly. The dumaflachie that tells me it’s on had become the Invisible Man. So I called the It-that-shall-not-be-named Internet Provider I pay a small fortune to.

I related the problem to Mr. Low-level who took my call. Let’s just call him LL for short. Over the phone, I heard a smirk coming from this guy on the other side of the world. Some place in Canada, I believe. The smirker tried to cover it up. That is often the game they play. The “why you smirking at me” game. They go into complete denial when you call them on their smirking. Dumb fool that I am, expecting customer service. All I get is a: “Well, sir, it’s against our policy to smirk at a customer. However, if you wish, we can email you our new smirker app. At no cost to you, sir. It will smirk at all your friends.”

I knew he smirked. I just knew it. But, after 3 hours of being put on hold, then spending another three hours getting tossed from Department A to Department Z back to Department B, I didn’t have the energy to argue. Everybody thinks healthcare.gov is bad. I am here to tell you the-company-that-shall-not-be named is ten times worse. I just wanted the internet to work and the steam to go away.

LL directed me to unplug the whatchamacallit from the thingamajig, stick it up my butt for thirty seconds. I followed his directions. You know how cold and sticky that thingamajig is? Well, let’s just say it’s cold and sticky. I plugged it back into the computer. This did not solve the problem. I knew it wouldn’t. It never does.

The steam was pouring out of the computer, and I still couldn’t get on the internet, even if my life depended on it. In addition to that, my butt was hurting something fierce from the whatchamacallit I’d stuck up my rear end only a few minutes ago.

By this time, I was losing any kind of patience I had left. There was enough steam in my house to be able to run a locomotive from D. C. to L. A. and have some left over for a return trip. All I wanted to do was get on the internet and order a new computer. Sure I could’ve gone down to the local Computerama Store and picked one up the easy way. But no, I didn’t want to do that.

Amazon is my best friend. We have spent a lot of time bonding. It always shows me the love. I would have felt that I betrayed it. It might have been hurt and stopped all that free shipping I have received over the years.

LL said to me, “Sir, I am going to put you on hold. I have to consult one of my partners-in-crime here.” He put me on hold but I could hear him talking. About surfing of all things. He wasn’t trying to help me with my problem. He was worried about his big-assed surfboard. It was enough to make me want to fly up to Canada, walk into that call center and shove a surf board up his you-know-what. See how he felt.

Finally, after more waiting and more waiting, he said to me, “I think we have a solution to your problem, sir. What you need to do is—”

“Click,” I heard my cell phone say. “You are out of your monthly allotment of minutes. To add minutes, we will need three credit cards and your first born child.” I tried to explain to the darn thing that I didn’t have a first-born child. It was not listening.

Wasn’t that just fine and dandy? No computer. No internet. No phone.

Anyway to make a long story longer, I went down to Computerama and bought a brand spanking new computer. It has an antenna I placed on the roof so I can receive the internet. The way it works is that it contacts an alien spacecraft hovering over earth and bounces a wave back to me. I can now contact any website on the nine planets of our solar system. (And, yes, Pluto is a planet.) Oh, and my new service includes unlimited phone service.

All it is costing me is a monthly allotment of the plutonium in my head. But that’s okay. I have plenty to spare. So no more steam and no more whatchamacallits up my rump. There is only one problem. I am getting Dear John letters from Amazon. It doesn’t love me anymore. I sent it flowers. That didn’t work.

Any suggestions what I can do to get Amazon to love me again?

Passwords, Passwords and More Passwords

How the heck do I keep track of them? All the passwords I have to create to enter various and sundry sites on the web. I mean, I have passwords for my work, for my credit union, for WordPress, for my computer, for my router, for my credit card online account, for my cell phone, for Facebook, for my health insurance online account, for my car insurance online site, for netflix, for my cable company, for my utilities company, for my antivirus account, for my library account, for this and for that and for more of the same. I have passwords to get to my passwords, and passwords to get to those passwords. And the experts tell me not to use the same passwords. How do I keep track of the darned things? What happens if I get the alzheimers and can’t remember any of them? Pretty soon I will need a password just to get into my car and one to get into my house. God help me if I ever forget those.

There are so many of the darn things to remember and I’m supposed to change them every-so-often. It has become overwhelming. On top of all my personal passwords, I have to remember passwords at work. And these passwords are supposed to be alphanumeric so some hacker in Russia can’t break in and steal some of my prized possessions. One of these days all my brain will contain is passwords. I’ll meet a friend and say, “Well, hello, loopy4837….oh, sorry, hello George….” All the technological revolution in the past twenty years has caused is making me into one big worry wort. “What was that dad-nab-it password?” Oops, I just forgot the password to my brain.

I know, I know. Our computers have gotten a lot smarter. They remember passwords. But what happens if someone steals my computer? Pretty soon I’ll find out they’ve logged into my Frogger Game Online and are playing in my name and they are losing. I had twenty gadzillion points racked up and now they’ve lost every last one of them. All because I stored my passwords on my computer. Or horror of horrors, they’ve logged into my WordPress Account and are writing my blogs for me. And the darned thief spells worse than I do.

Years ago I worked in the data processing department at my local library. These days it would be called the IT Department.) I remember this cartoon my boss had tacked onto the bulletin board in our office. It showed an open grave and a woman standing over it, saying a prayer. A man in a suit was leaning over and asking her, “Did he … give you the password?”

Wonder what will happen if God forgets Her passwords? We will be in a real world of hurt.

Just a thought: maybe She can contact the NSA.

Does your lawn talk to you?

dons_yardGuess what? Mine does. It talks up a palaver. There’s just no shutting it up, and it’s not
the happy talk one would expect from a lawn that receives the royal treatment. Lately it’s been on the warpath. It wants its own Facebook page. Can you imagine? It’s not going to happen. Not going to do it.

So my advice to my lawn. It had better stop insisting. It had better quit waking me up way too early in the morning just to run its mouth, whispering, “Facebook.” It saw what I did to those crop circles in my back yard, spelled, “Facebook.” I mowed right over them. Felt good after I did too. That was a warning.

Another thing. It had better quit blaming the cat. That cat did not pee those letters in the grass. He does not even like Facebook. Last time I left the site open on my computer, he saw it. He almost destroyed the computer. Never heard such snarling in my life. Besides it would be “catnip” that he would pour out on the lawn. ‘Cause I am here to tell you he sure enjoys that stuff. Just lights up a cigar and lounges in the living room ever so mellow when he has had a hit of the stuff.

No, it was the lawn and its campaign for Facebook immortality. Ever since I set up a Facebook page, it’s been after me. It’s just one more of its conspiracy to run roughshod over my life. If I did it, all my neighbor’s lawns would want a page of their own. Next thing you know my neighbors would beating down my door with axes and pitchforks, demanding, yes demanding, that I take it down. I’m afraid of what they might do with those pitchforks

Oh, and another thing, that lawn had better quit having babies. Used to take only thirty minutes to mow the lawn. Now it takes two and a half hours. If things continue the way they are, pretty soon I will need a water truck to keep my thirst quenched when I am mowing you.

I’m telling you that I am getting fed up with all the lawn hi-jinx. They’re enough to drive one man crazy. And I am not talking crazy in love either. You know that there is no love lost between the my lawn and I.

When I was a kid, I said never. Not ever would I have a lawn to care for. It was my job to mow when I was in school. Then I grew up and got a new job. Taking out the garbage. Not only do I to take out the garbage but I have mow that lawn. I am not a happy man.

If I could get away with it, I would just brick it over. But that is not a plan. No sirree. Cement does not cool things off in the summer. It heats them up. But I am warning it that, if things do not change, there will be some changes all right. I’ll pack it up and send it off to Alaska for a six-month-winter. That will teach it. So it can just take that as a warning.

Hopefully giving my lawn a case of the reading-the-riot act will do the trick. Get it to fall in line. With no more insistence on a Facebook page. Nary one whisper about the darn thing.

I don’t mind a little sassy from it from time to time. But no more Facebook and no more kids. Thank you very much.

By the way, anybody want to buy a lawn. I’ll throw in the transportation to Anyplace, USA for free. And I don’t even care if you give it a good home. Just take it off my hands.