It’s configuration central here and has been for a couple of days, though I hope to actual finish today and be able to move on to those other things awaiting my attention. I can hear the little voices of my undone tasks yapping in my ear. It’s like the whine of mosquitoes. I slap at them, but they keep coming back.

It’s not only the computer that is sucking up my time. It’s this stupid, horrible election. So much of my attention has been taken away from the stuff I really should be doing, I’m not getting stuff done, not like I need to. I can’t WAIT for this election to be done and over. I want my brain back.


Meanwhile, I got my computer. I actually got it a week ago and it was not supposed to show up until the second week in November. Maybe they ought to have waited and sent everything at the same time, but as it is, it didn’t come with the software I ordered — or the peripherals I need. I ordered the computer and software from Dell. Yes, I know. The worst customer service on the planet … but some of the best computers. It’s like having your sister marry a man you really loathe, but they are a package deal.

One of the big changes in this new generation of computers is they mostly don’t come with DVD reader/writers, so you need an external if you are going to install software from physical media. I ordered the external DVD player/writer from Amazon. It’s the same one Dell sells, but $25 less with free shipping and 2-day turnaround. Also picked up a nice zippy 1 TB external drive and a cool mouse that scrolls side-to-side as well as up-and-down. Amazing how prices have dropped on some of this stuff.

Yesterday, the peripherals arrived, so today, I hunkered down and decided to make this computer function.

I installed Photoshop and Bridge. I finished moving files from backup hard drives to the new computer (which has two hard drives, a 1 TB 7200 rpm mechanical drive, plus a 256 GB solid state drive. Everything defaults to the C: drive — which is the 256 GB SSD — so I had to do some configuring. Not going to let that huge, D: drive sit idly by. I put all the photographs and documents there — and the Adobe stuff. I’ll leave the SSD for booting and other applications. Like OpenOffice and Audible Manager.


All things considered, this has gone well. Smoothly. Photoshop and Bridge installed without so much as a whimper of protest, as did all the Topaz and NIK filters. The DVD external worked fine. The back up drives passed the data to this computer without a problem as fast as their little virtual brains could do it.

Nonetheless, it took a long time and I’m not done yet.

It reminded me of watching (I think it was ) NCIS the other night. Some fiend was copying a gazillion terabytes of data to destroy American via the Internet. Not only was this evil genius able to hack the U.S. government’s most secret servers (which I don’t find hard to believe), but they could transfer this massive amount of data in a mere few minutes. Wow. That I can’t believe.

With my brand new 3.0 USB Western Digital external drive hooked up to my not-all-that slow older Alienware computer (it’s got a core Intel i7 board in it), I’ve been backing up the documents library. It contains 177 GB of data and about 55,000 files. The file count includes a lot of hidden, system files, illustrations inside books and so on. Many of them are tiny. Nonetheless, this transfer from a fast computer to the latest greatest external hard drive has already taken more than an hour and looks very likely to take one more.


How do they do it so FAST on television? They can transfer the contents of an entire super computer to a flash drive in less than a minute. And where did they get that flash drive? None of mine work that well. I’ve never seen one even close to that large or fast … and NEVER an error message. Nary a glitch. Amazing!

I’m SO envious! While I’m envying fictional TV crime series technology, can I (please, pretty please) have that battery that will run my laptop for a week without having to plug it in? Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the backup on the other computer to finish. Maybe tomorrow?


I was standing next to the bed. Blinking. Rapidly. Garry looked at me. I must have appeared to be in pain or something because he said: “Are you okay?”


“Yes,” I said, blinking and frowning. “I was putting the gunk on my rash? So after that, I washed my hands. I must not have washed them enough, because I think I touched my eyes and now my eyes are burning. I suppose I got some of the gunk in my eyes.”

By then, I was trying to rub my eyes with the back of my wrists since apparently my fingers were not nearly clean enough.

Garry started to laugh. Then I started to laugh. We both kept laughing.

“One thing always leads to another,” I cackled.

He went back to watching the movie. I found the eye drops. Everything is hilarious. Of course, I suppose it could all be tragic and dramatic.

It’s a matter of perspective.


Last night, watching Star Trek: Next Generation, Geordi La Forge (Levar Burton) disobeyed a direct order given by Captain Stewart, er, I mean, Jean-Luc Picard. Although he survived his misadventure — barely, I might add — Picard told Geordi that regretfully, he was going to have to “put this incident on your permanent record!”

Oh my god! His permanent record. Even in Star Fleet, you cannot escape your permanent record. It’s four hundred years in the future and they still have that record.

Back in our golden olden days, the thing that was held over our heads — the Sword of Damocles — was that our bad behavior would go on our permanent record. From elementary school through our working years, we were warned our permanent record would follow us. Marks against us might even (gasp!) prevent us from getting into college  in which case we knew we might as well die on the spot. If you didn’t go to college, you would never have a decent job or a life worth living. I knew it in the marrow of my bones. Didn’t you?


The Permanent Record is (was) (will be) like a rock. Unchanging. No matter what we do with our lives, everyone can find out about our misdeeds, even those from Kindergarten. Kind of like Wikileaks for every living human being. What an appalling thought!

All anyone anywhere needs to do is check the record. They’ll know I sassed my eleventh grade social studies teacher (he deserved worse) in May 1962. That Garry ran over his allotted time while reporting a news event in Boston and was not even repentant when confronted with his foul deed! Every evil we have done through our life will be revealed.

So, here’s the deal.

Now and forever, every one of us has a permanent record in which all our misbehavior is cataloged. I know because I’ve been told. I’m not sure who has custody of these records, however. As far as I can tell, everyone on the planet has one, so there must be a gigantic storage unit somewhere, where everything is filed. That’s hundreds of million of records to keep on file for eternity. Maybe trillions, zillions or gazillions.


I expect when we die, if there actually are Pearly Gates and an immortal gatekeeper who decides if we may or may not enter, he or she will be clutching a copy of our permanent record in one angelic hand.

That’s right. You talked back to your teacher in fifth grade, cut biology class in high school. Told a professor the dog ate your final paper in college. Now, you won’t go to Heaven.

Sorry pal. Your permanent record finally caught up with you.



The following anecdote is not rigged by the crooked media — or the straight media.

I was exiting our local supermarket and noticed a young lad, maybe 10 or 11-years old staring at me. I know that look. Maybe you have to be a person of color to recognize that look.


72-garry-at-river-bend-ma-10172016_03To me, given my particular history, it means one of two things. Someone thinks they recognize me and they probably do, because I used to be someone. Or they are wondering what this dark-skinned guy is doing here.

In this case, I knew he couldn’t have seen me on TV because I retired before he was born. So, living as he does in our fair (and very white) town, probably he had never seen a real, live not white person.

Finally, I seized the awkward moment. I smiled, said: “Hi, How are you doing? Isn’t this a beautiful day?”

The lad beamed at me.

I am personally on the road to making America great again. Trust me.


I have a lot of stuff to do right now. Doctor stuff, computer stuff, promises to keep, books to read because I owe reviews to publishers.  There’s not nearly enough time in my day to do it all and I have fallen way behind on most of the stuff I usually do for Serendipity. Lucky for me it’s October and there are lots of pictures to post, otherwise, there wouldn’t be much here, either.


I’m going to have to delete a pile of notifications. I’ll never get to them. Please accept my apologies. The “JUST two hands and one head … ” rule applies. If I add one more thing to my “to do” list, I’ll disintegrate into a mass of ones and zeroes and be permanently sucked into some virtual reality.

At least I’m still managing to write a bit. It’s going to be a while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can dig myself out of this hole I’m in.


As Michael Valentine Smith used to say, “Waiting is.” Because we are all waiting for something or someone.

Bonnie and Gibbs are waiting for me or Garry to give them their next treat.72-bonnie-scotties-10172016_08


I’m waiting for Garry to rise and shine.

72-Marilyn At Canal-GA-042716_154

It’s my day to see the doctor, so he is waiting for me.

Death cust serv

The guy with the scythe is waiting for all of us … and Halloween is just around the corner!




Share Your World – 2016 Week 42

If you wanted to de-clutter where you live, what room / space would you start with?  (And why, if you’re feel like admitting to it.)

We have been gradually decluttering for several years, but it turns out that two people our age tend to have a LOT of stuff … and if you are me — someone who collects stuff like pottery, dolls, teapots, art — or Garry, who got tons of awards and miscellaneous souvenirs of the many places he’s been and people he met … well … we really have so much stuff. Decluttering is a room by room thing. It’s more of an existential attitude.


Step one is not buying books. They were our downfall in our earlier years. Some people can’t pass a music store. We were helpless in bookstores. We also had to tell everyone in our lives to not give us anything that requires room in a closet, floor space, wall space, or shelf space. Pouncing on anyone who looks or sounds interested with “You can take it with you, please … enjoy it … really … we don’t need it!!”


We have given away thousands of books and I’ve given away or sold hundreds of dolls. I’ve given away half my antique Chinese porcelain and if I could find more people who appreciate it, I’d rehome even more.



I’d love to clean out the room that was my office, but it now mostly a storage area. But I can’t figure out what to do with the stuff that’s in the room. It’s mostly boxes from computers, lenses, cameras … and a couple of empty suitcases that don’t fit in the attic, but I can’t get rid of because that’s our “good” luggage.


Then, there’s the gigantic oak desk that’s full of old tax papers and other stuff that I have no use for, but I’m sure if I get rid of it, I will suddenly realize it was important. Garry’s office is pretty much the same. I think of it as extended storage space.

If you want to remember something important, how do you do it (sticky note on the fridge, string around your finger, etc.), and does it work?


I put everything important in my computer calendar and set up reminders. It also goes on the white board on the refrigerator AND on the paper calendar. Moreover, I tell Garry so at least there’s a chance that one of us will remember. Between one thing and another, we don’t miss much.

If you could create a one room retreat just for yourself, what would be the most important sense to emphasize:  sight (bright natural light, dim light, etc.), hearing (silence, music, fountain, etc.), smell (candles, incense, etc), touch (wood, stone, soft fabrics, etc.), or taste (herbal tea, fresh fruit, etc.)?

My whole house is a retreat. Really, it is. Most important? Comfortable furniture. Secondly? Soft lighting and a lot of art. Painting, pottery, carvings.

72-Window Dressing_01

I love textures, colors, shapes. I don’t understand blank walls. I couldn’t live like that.

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

Just where we come from … if anyone knows. I’m not all that fascinated with my personal family history. I know genealogy is a big thing these days, but I really don’t care much. And weirdly, neither does Garry. We are not in step with the rest of the world.


What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful for the gorgeous weather and the amazing autumn we are having. I’m looking forward to more of it!