Saturday, March 17, 2007

"progris riport"

It's been a day of battling three uncooperative entities: the Computer (broadly conceived), Time (as usual) and my own brain (no surprise there). By and large I've prevailed over #1 and #3, but #2 is a killer. Perhaps one reason for my fascination with time travel is my frustration with time as it appears to be in everyday life, that inexorable vector that pushes me toward the future one smooth second at a time, whether or not I'm ready to go there. There are never enough of those seconds to do all that I want, the goofing off as well as the vital tasks and tardy obligations. I want to read for three hours and not feel guilty about it. I want to crack the top 10,000 on the Flixter neverending quiz leader board. I want to sleep for ten hours, mess around online for ten hours, read for ten hours, and write for ten hours, all between now and 9 AM Saturday morning, a little over six hours from now. But alas, Time won't let me use those seconds, minutes, hours more than once each.

Last night I posted my blog entry later than usual for a weeknight, and in two different blogs. "The Clone and the House Guest" now exists in two places in Musings from Mâvarin, once at the Outpost and once in Messages from Mâvarin. Two of those appearances date back to November, 2005, when I first wrote the thing. It wasn't until this morning that I noticed:
  1. I had a typo of the word "If" instead of the word "Is", resulting in a sentence that didn't make sense.
  2. One paragraph suddenly veered into past tense, while the rest was (by design) in present tense.
  3. Two of the postings switched to a different font in the middle of the dialogue. When I tried to fix this, one of them put all of Karen's lines after the font switch into the same red as Kate's lines.
And it wasn't until tonight that I noticed the weird links I snarfed from the AOL Search screen didn't work as blog links. Phooey.

All this comes less than a week after John sat in our Tempe AZ hotel room, finding numerous typos in the blog entry I'd posted the night before. When I find I've put up something with that many errors in it, the humorous typo warning on my sidebar just isn't sufficient to assuage my embarrassment. I worry that you will think I don't know the right spellings, the right grammar, the right words for which I've substituted the wrong ones, and the right punctuation to make it all work. When there's an error every 50 words or so, the whole thing starts to look like a sequel of Flowers for Algernon. What I have to do is slow down and proofread some more, and of course sleep more to keep the brain sharp. This is not a new insight.

You've now read my time complaint and my brain complaint. But the big battles of the week were with computers and software and files. The WordPerfect file I've been trying to open from church turned out to be over 11 MB instead of around 300K. No wonder my computer was having fits! So today at lunch I went to the church office and showed the parish administrator how to paste text from that huge church bulletin file into he body of an email. It wasn't perfect, but it worked, much better than the original file would have. I also suggested that she paste the entire bulletin into a new Word doc, because Word is more compatible with what I and others are doing, and easier to use. But in Word that 11 MB of text and graphics was all compressed into one overlapping paragraph. Double Phooey.

I gave out a few suggestions and moved on to check in with Rev. Angela. She had a different question for me, all to do with an email that wanted to defy all reasonable margins. I gave her a few pointers on what the problem was and how to fix it, but really it's a bit of a mess to figure out.

Tonight I managed to put together a huge news and schedule update to the St. Michael's news blog, copied from the stuff we'd pasted into emails. Later on I cleaned it up to look better, updated the schedule page as well, and even converted the following week's bulletin (only 413K!) into Word (138K) and cleaned it up, in hopes that it can be used as a template for later.

There were more computer-related battles. At least once this week my computer at work failed to shut down properly, and generally behaved oddly. Here at home, my attempt to optimize the hard drive with Speed Disk has gotten hung up repeatedly. Blogger was down at one point, and AOL seemingly banned my sidebar portrait for a while on Musings. And...well, there were other incidents and annoyances, but time and my brain insist that I go to bed now. I'll resume ranting some other time.


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