Saturday, December 09, 2006

Movin' right along, dum de dum

If you don't recognize the title, it's from the Muppets Take Manhatten movie, and the tune is bumping along in my head as I write this.

Just 5 days of work left. I've been working since September of 1972, barring some time off for babies, moving, surgery, etc. And I feel every bit that old, too. Lately I've been having dreams, more like nightmares, of trying to do some lab procedure and flubbing it up. I wake up and think, hummm, how DID I do that? Which is totally unproductive, since I have forgotten WAY more procedures than I ever learned (leaving me at a -9 in knowledge). I think this must be the work equivalent of the post-college dreams of having an exam in a class I forgot to attend all semester.

In other news, I bought a (used) MacBook to use on the massive photo album project I'm planning, and Crikey! I LIKE it. I may become an Apple convert -- probably the only conversion likely at this point! Back in the Old Days, when "mini computers" were first moving into work and homes (like 1980), my then-boss bought our lab an Apple IIe, and I re-wrote the program for our data analysis (a weighted fit log-logit program) to run on it, previously done on a mainframe. It was a darned complex program for a mini, but far too simple to justify running it on a main-frame, and I was way proud of it. I still have the code (in BASIC) somewhere. Anyway, when the Hub and I decided we should get a computer ourselves, he pointed out that all the government offices were going to IBM PCs, and to be able to work at home, an Apple would be useless for him. So we bought/made a 286/16 ("blindingly fast", don't you know?) PC from component parts, which ran on MS-DOS, of course, using a program called "Automenu" to start the various programs. For years I had a sign for my desk that said "I don't do Windows", but eventually we were forced to switch, starting with 3.0, I think. It didn't work any better then, simple as it was, than it does now, unfortunately. But all this time, I've toyed with the idea of having a Mac, and recently thought I'd dabble. I installed Parallels on it, which lets you run Windows on a virtual machine, mainly so I could load Family Tree Maker and take my family file with me when I go to courthouses/library to work on the genealogy thing. It was a little difficult, simply because I couldn't locate a bootable CD for Windows XP. I mean, here at home we have 5 computers running XP on them, but since XP comes pre-installed, with a partition on the hard drive for Recovery, NO install disks! Or so I thought, until I remembered the defunct (fried motherboard) Compaq laptop my daughter bought some 15 months ago (never buy a Compaq, trust me on this). Compulsive that she is, she had the thing IN its original box, with all the papers, manuals, etc. that came with it, and LO, there was an XP install disk, with the key code stuck on the bottom of the laptop. Given that it is DOA ($800 to repair!), I felt completely justified in installing that copy of XP on the MacBook. Did you know that it is real complicated to make a CD that is bootable? No more of the "format D: /s" to make it bootable; that parameter is no longer available for the format command. Instead you have to burn an .iso image to the disk (one program to create the image, another to burn the image in the correct sector) and then transfer the correct Windows file to it....I gave up. And making a copy of someone else's bootable install CD doesn't make the copy bootable either (well, duh). Anyway, the Mac now runs both OSs and I'm right pleased with myself. All that computer programming back in the early 70s wasn't a complete waste (keypunch cards, remember those days? No? Well, then I guess I'm older than dirt, after all....).

For my final week at work, I think I'll be doing it with a cold, rotten luck. I haven't had one in years, but today I've got a sore throat, and that "malaise" feeling that all is Not Right in Redhead land. I tend to get (somewhat) morbid when I'm ill, and along with the Muppet tune, I've got John Donne's Meditation 19 rolling around in my brain ("Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee..."). I had to memorize it for an English Lit class eons ago, and one thing about it, it's stuck in my memory forever, unlike more important information, like the names of my children. I think that my memory worked best when there was so little in it, why else would I still remember the poem "Winken, Blinken, and Nod" after 50 years? Not something I've had call to use much in the meantime...

Movin' right along

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