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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unhappy Valentine's Day & The "I Love Me" Wall

Yesterday was not an unhappy day because of the lack of romance in my life, but because of the presence of computer problems. I woke up to discover that my fingerprint reader on my brand-new laptop had quit working. This in and of itself was not a catastrophe, as a "biometric identification device" is a neat toy, but not essential to word-processing. What did bother me, however, was that it had worked flawlessly up until Sunday, and then just disappeared overnight. That's right, not only had it ceased to operate, it was "undetected" every time I tried to set it up again.

Then I logged on to my email account and found a letter from a professor in the History Department saying that she couldn't open the job talk DVDs I'd just burned on Friday. While I was puzzling over this question, I noticed a reminder for "this week's African American and Russian job talks" from the chair of the department--another had been added this Friday, and...the one for Monday was beginning thirty minutes earlier than all the others. At 11 AM. I was checking my email (last-minute, before departing for campus to set up the video camera for the talk) at 11:03 AM. OH CRAP!!!

So, I get to the job talk thirty minutes late, and the camera doesn't have any juice in it, so I hunt between rapt people crammed in along the wall for a power outlet to no avail. The chair of the search committee allows a breather after the lecture for me to set up to film the Q&A section, but I lack a tripod, so I end up "steady-camming" the next 45 minutes, panning between the speaker at the one end of the room and the PowerPoint screen at the other. Not a brilliant start to the week. All the professors (and the speaker) were very gracious, though. And my arm wasn't totally numb, either.

Twenty minutes of computer trouble-shooting in the office of the professor who can't get my DVDs to work ends up without resolution. I promise to use a different program to burn new copies, and return home to my own problem computer, to find that...all three USB ports aren't working. In other words, I can't back up the files that I've changed since Wednesday (the last time I saved everything, given my crazy schedule). Most unhappy.

I go to bed. Maybe these software issues will all go away after I've had a good nap.

I wake up and rush off to trivia, the software problems still in residence. We finish fourth because I mess up doing basic subtraction on the third-round bonus question. The two other girls on the team ask me if I'd like to go with them to the Arlington Drafthouse and Cinema, which is having a special showing of The Princess Bride this evening. Like most other American females of a certain age, I not only own a copy of TPB, I can recite much of the dialogue from memory, but I agree because of the prospect of seeing it on the big screen again, and in pleasant company. Too, I have heard good things about the Drafthouse, yet have not been, and the notion that two twenty-something girls would be willing to have an old hen like me along for a casual evening's entertainment is subconsciously flattering.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the Drafthouse (physically a very comfortable venue) precedes its films with a short segment of stand-up comedy, or so it did yesterday evening. And standup nowadays, particularly on "romantic holidays" consists mostly of X-rated "jokes" and the "f" word. Ha ha. Not. So I had to sit through twenty awkward minutes of allusions to all sorts of sexual acts before getting to relax and enjoy the PG-rated feature.

Then I went home and went online for two hours to figure out how to rescue my computer files. I got the USB ports working (the drivers had spontaneously corrupted, so I had to uninstall and reinstall these), the data backed up, and the computer to at least admit that somewhere out in the known moral universe there might exist such a thing as a fingerprint reader--although it still won't admit it features such a device).

Today I installed my "I love me" wall in my bedroom. This is what I call that surface in any house or office which features the framed diplomas and certifications earned by the occupant. Given the number of painted self-portraits I have hanging on other walls in my apartment, a visitor might recognize more than the usual narcissism in yours truly. Natural egocentricity aside, both visual self-celebrations are the natural result of two twin trends: my unended studenthood (one can't help but accumulate degrees) and my artistic ambitions (I haven't anyone to sit for me but myself--if I had other models to work from, there wouldn't be so much KYP-centered material around).

I'm donating some of my clothes and the rest of my father's to charity tomorrow--they've been through two estate sales and these are truly the leftovers. I've also culled some dishes from my overstuffed cabinets and sold three of the tables that I used to use for jewelry display (Anita's husband got her new ones for Christmas). In other words, what with hanging the pictures and documents that have been sitting around in bubblewrap for months and with clearing out unnecessaries, my apartment is beginning to look considerably neater. ...Just in time for my mom to come visit for the Cherry Blossom Festival at the beginning of April!

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