Old Enough To Know Better

Or so you would think. Among other things, I ironed a pair of pants today, noticing there was a stick of gum in the pocket. I immediately removed it of course, but it had melted a bit and suddenly everything smelled quite like spearmint.

Scrubbing the gum off the ironing board did not prove as difficult as one would expect.

The other half of the day was spent removing a worm from this computer. You know, I got the operating system installed, then immediately went online to immediately download my antivirus program and whoosh – a worm. I knew from a previous installation (but had forgotten) that when windows installs, it does not automatically turn on the firewall – indeed this must be done manually. Real smart Bill. Who thinks to look first?

Anyhow, this was the worm from computer hell. I kept getting rid of it and it kept coming back. Hunted through the entire internet for various ad- and spyware detection programs. Probably cut the life of the new hard drive in half with all the scanning I did. Each time I cut the internet connection, I would get a message box from windows saying “You (or a program) blah blah blah has requested information from www.blah blah blah”. When I finally did a google search for the web site that the program was trying to access (which does not exist of course) I finally stumbled upon an asian page with a concise explanation of the worm. It sets itself up in various parts of the registry, so that the infected file is created with each system start. After I had finally cleaned all registry entries I was finally rid of it.

Oh, and for my german readers – while downloading security updates yesterday, I had the following screen at Microsoft:

It’s a bit difficult to read, I know. Here the text:

“Die aktualisierte Software wird von Windows Update gedownloadet und installiert”.

Von heruntergeladen wohl noch nie etwas gehört, oder? So kann man die deutsche Sprache auch verschandeln, pfui.

I Forgot the Bookmarks

It WAS the hard drive. I burned all of my data onto CDs last night. This morning, after reading my emails and various other sites I visit regularly, I swallowed hard and rebooted from the XP CD.

I formatted and partitioned and repartitioned and reformatted and so on and so forth. The installation kept stopping and kept telling me the hard drive was defect. (I had hoped to get around this by “partitioning off” the bad sectors but apparently there was no hope.

My father was kind enough to accompany me to downtown Munich (I don’t know my way around in a car there – only in the subway) where I bought a brand new Fujitsu 40 GB hard drive. For 79,00 € – not bad really. The old HD only had 15 GB, so I have gained quite a lot of breathing space in that regard.

Got home, installed the drive in the laptop, started the XP installation and held my breath during formatting – phew. Worked. It had been nagging at me all morning that the problem might be caused by the controller and not the drive – what a relief. I checked the Fujitsu site, and the product life (for both HDs) is three years. I have had this laptop for 2 1/2, so that is ok I guess. I am just relieved that I was able to fix the problem with a minimum of financial investment.

The installation is relatively bare bones at the moment, however internet and email is working.

But you know what I forgot to backup? My bookmarks – it makes me ill just thinking about all of the helpful and useful and interesting collection I had gotten together in the past few years –

ok, enough of that. At least this PC is back to purring like a kitten. I oughta be happy right?

I am.

Post Without a Title

I slept through the moon eclipse last night (since it occured between 3-6 a.m. here) but Seitherin has a good picture of it on her blog.

The SP has completely f_ up my laptop. This morning I left the laptop for a short time and returned to find it rebooting. Same thing this evening. I think I will have to try and just uninstall the SP, or do a completely new installation of XP.

Sucks rocks, doesn’t it?

Is It Sunspots or Service Pack 2?

On Sunday, my laptop and I decided it was time to install the XP SP2. Might have been a mistake but the jury is still out. Here are just some of the weird things happening:

  • When I close the laptop cover, instead of going into hibernation, Windows restarts.
  • When I turn on the laptop after having successfully (through the menu) sent XP into hibernation, the hard disk rattles about 15 minutes long and then I get error messages that this or that program has discovered an error and must be shut down
  • For some added spice, now and then a Kernel Stack Inpage Error (though I have no viruses and my hard drive is fine, according to the utilities)
  • Now and then when I restart, Windows tells me I have 89 unread emails (which I don’t)
  • During the first three minutes of operation, XP insists that I do not have the firewall enabled
  • My DSL Dialer can no longer be shut down normally – only through killing it with the Task Manager

And as if that isn’t enough, my beloved Logitech Cordless Wheel Mouse is fading away. A left click is sometimes no click at all, or often even a double click – all of which makes computing quite interesting. It has served for three good years, but nevertheless, I will miss it. I took it apart and cleaned it and blew all the dust out of it with “air in a can” but to no avail. Tried setting the click frequency in the settings so that I might be able to use it a bit longer, but it did not help and using the mouse is quite a challenge.

I guess I could reverse the button functions to prolong its life, but then when I do have a new one I would have to readjust to the left button and I am not sure that my motor skills are still that flexible at my age.

Playing Boss

I had gone outside shortly and came back to see this:

Seems that Tobi wanted to “play boss” and sit where I sit. The facial expression (which I failed to capture) was a mixture of stubbornness and hanging ears – he knows he is not allowed to do this. I sent him over to his side of the couch (as constantly vacuuming the one blanket is quite enough work) and he was in quite a huff and demonstratively laid down on the floor next to the couch.

Thanks to Mom again for sending me the seeds – here is part (about half) of my jalapeno and cayenne harvest:

I’ll be freezing the jalapenos for later use and am drying the cayenne next to the wood burning stove:

And now I am going to just enjoy the rest of this wonderful October day with its azure blue sky, colorful fall foliage and temperatures of 70 degrees.

It’s Called Defragmenting

the hard drive – can you believe that word popped into my head the second I woke up this morning? How odd. So how did I think of discompromising? The German term for the process is “Entkomprimieren”. In German, komprimieren also means compromising, as in a spy who has been compromised if you will. I guess that was my logic.

We got two cords of wood today and have decided that is about the proper quantity to order. The problem is that the wood can only be delivered to the front of the property meaning we need to fill it into a wheelbarrow, haul it to the back and stack it there. Two cords is done in about 1 1/2 hours and is manageable. I remember years when we let 8 cords be delivered – spending the day hauling wood and stacking it and being completely kaputt at the end of it. So, two cords it is.

After that, I decided to postpone cleaning to the afternoon and got my porch winter-ready, clipped the geraniums which will be spending the winter in the basement, swept away all the leaves which have been collecting and raked the leaves on the lawn.

For lunch, we had the last of the trout we’ve caught this year along with fried potatoes which was a good hearty eat after all that yard work.

I saw a program on Discovery today that really made me wonder about the brains of some women; the program was about a sperm bank where the donors were geniuses (it has since been shut down). What got me angry though, was that some of the mothers wanted to meet the fathers of their children and actually encouraged that wish in their children as well – setting the scene for disappointment, isn’t it? Sperm donors are sperm donors – no more, no less. They should not be called in to meet their “children” who probably expect them to be somewhat of a father to them. I think this is unfair at the very least. Having grown up not knowing my father I can understand the wish to know – but I found this more than ridiculous and overblown.

Saw something more fun last night – flipping through the channels I caught the end of “An Officer and a Gentleman” – just at the point where Richard Gere strides into that factory and sweeps up Debra Winger in his arms and carries her out. I am a sucker for those types of movies, I admit.

Relaxed

Well, the four of us (Uwe, Hilde, my sister and I) had a lovely celebratory dinner last night; honey melon and Spanish serrano ham, followed by giant prawns with drawn butter and a loaf of Italian ciabatta to accompany them, along with a field salad tossed with lime dressing and a lovely Portugese white wine. Dessert was a wonderful Camenbert from Normandy – the kind sold in a wooden box.

Uwe grocery shopped all of that – I think we ought to let him do that more often.

The very nice man from the consulate called me yesterday and I have an appointment week after next, at which they will be pulling in my passport (which they will return to me invalidated when this is finished). This means I will be without “real” ID for the next three months and will be carrying my driver’s license around with me. However, I don’t see it as a major problem since even if I wanted to travel somewhere, as long as it is within the European Union, no passport is required.

I think I have finally finished all of my Christmas socks, thank goodness. I have knitted a total of 12 pairs in the last few months, which doesn’t sound like a lot but knitting a pair of socks is time consuming. I finished the last pair last night since I couldn’t go to bed early with all that food I’d eaten – ended up watching all of the last episode of “Crackers” with Robbie Coltrane. Then, a really old Mia Farrow movie came on – I am not a huge fan of her, but the movie was quite suspenseful – “See No Evil”. It centers around a blind young woman who comes home and doesn’t notice that all of her family has been murdered – she only discovers it on the second day when she tries to take a bath and there is a dead body in the tub. Bad thing is, the guy who did it is in the house – though you never see him – all you ever see are his pointed cowboy boots with a star on them.

Most of my day today was spent sorting out the files on my computer. I sorted all pictures according to category, deleted all that weren’t any good, popped them on a CD. Then, I sorted through the rest of the rummage on the hard drive, decompromised? (geez – what’s it called in english when you get rid of the gaps between files) both logical drives and backed up all important files and data. Perhaps now it won’t be quite as slow as it had been. The C drive was very full, only had 550 MB of space left so I uninstalled Photo Impact which takes up a whopping 430 MB. I will reinstall it to the other drive when I need it.

Time to turn off the PC and get started on my weekly cleaning – won’t have as much time for it tomorrow as we are getting a few cords of wood.

 

‘Round in a Circle and Back

I think it’s very lovely that this British fellow at the Independent called Germany’s democracy the most civilized on the continent.

“Britain’s obsession with the war colours its attitude towards its European partner, says its Foreign Minister. So why do we cling to the stereotypes instead of embracing the continent’s most civilised democracy?”

On Monday, we had two birthdays – Gisi and Hilde. Gisi got something really special from me – whenever she visits me, she grabs my Furby and plays with it and makes such a ruckus, that no normal adult conversation is possible (which is why I started hiding it when I knew she was coming). Anyhow, I managed to get a brand new Furby over at ebay – speaks english, but that doesn’t matter. Though it might ruin her english skills if she starts being unable to discern what is “english” and what is “Furbish”. Lol. I visualize her sending emails to customers in Greece or elsewhere, “Your shipment will be arriving next week, please koto lulu…..”.

She will hit me for this, I know 🙂

Hilde got socks from me – she was thrilled since usually she is the one who knits for others – and she is the one who taught me how to knit socks. She even saw me knitting them, I pretended they were for me, and she was really pleased with the yarn and the colors, telling me she might purchase that very yarn to make herself some just like them. Grin. That was fun.

The cloud cover has opened here and it is a lovely blue sky – will take this opportunity to get the dog some exercise (and me too).