Monday musings on laptops and midriffs

Troubles with the laptop

My laptop is broken and, by extension, so am I.

The near-Mesozoic IBM ThinkPad I’ve been using for my blogging and surfing and Scrabbling for the last year lies mortally injured in a nearby computer repair shop. The tech tells me it might only be a “cabling” issue (I’m supposed to know that’s relatively minor) or it might be that my “mother’s bored,” an almost certainly fatal affliction. I am lost.

The first symptoms appeared about a week ago when the cursor froze and the keyboard became unresponsive. If I powered down and then rebooted, I could buy a few more minutes of life until the screen flashed black and everything shut down. I know next to nothing about the mechanics of laptops but I know enough to realize that a black screen is a bad screen.

My first attempt at getting repair was at a new shop just north of town called Nerd Net Café. Their ad promised free and nearly instant diagnostics while you relaxed with a cup of gourmet coffee and access to complementary wi-fi, not much good without a laptop but a nice gesture anyway.

The only guy in the shop balanced a couple of phone calls, repair work on other machine and one other customer while he gave my ThinkPad a once-over. I could tell he wouldn’t be able to do much while I waited; actually, I secretly wanted to leave it overnight so I could prolong my hope for recovery another 24 hours.

When I stopped by the next day during visiting hours, he was ready with a report. “You’re looking at a new computer,” he said.

At first I thought that was a good thing. He had apparently rebuilt the whole device to the point where it was like having a brand-new laptop. Then, I learned that what he meant was that the old computer wasn’t worth fixing, and that if I wanted to be looking at any computer at all, it would have to be a new one.

He pointed to the keyboard in the area between the “T” and the “U” and said something about cleaning the contacts underneath, even though it probably wouldn’t do any good. He thought it was something to do with the “power source,” which I interpreted to be an accusation that I had spilled my energy drink on it.

“There’s no charge,” he said brightly. I didn’t think this was as magnanimous as he did, as it seemed logical that compensation was not warranted for virtually no service rendered. But, as I said, I know next to nothing about computer repair.

“Are you sure it’s not the muffler,” I asked hopefully, and he was sure.

Now, I’ve got the machine admitted to another shop, one without Green Mountain Coffee and slices of carrot cake, though at least they had component parts spread on every available surface. Meanwhile, I’m using my son’s abandoned Dell Inspiron 1520, a Vista-infested device that feels compelled to tell me “driver blocked due to incompatibility” every time I turn it on.

Apparently, that’s how the new operating systems are supposed to work.

Looking for more clothing options

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I wish I could wear women’s clothing.

With the heat of August showing no sign of abating here in the South, I find certain regions of my body uncomfortably warm and moist on too many of those occasions when I’m clad. If I could wear a kicky little skirt, I think I’d be a lot cooler.

Maybe “cooler” isn’t the right word.

Women have to put up with a lot of injustices in modern American society — high heels, low pay, middling husbands — but at least they have a wide variety of clothing options from which to choose. They can wear pants or they can wear dresses. They can wear short shorts, thigh-length shorts or capri pants. They can wear shirts or blouses or tops or even halters, whatever they are.

They can wear sundresses. I would kill for the chance to wear a sundress to work and not find myself remanded to the human resources office.

We have the usual conflict in my workplace between men and women about the level of air-conditioning. The lady who sits next to me has a portable heater cranked to the max sitting underneath her desk, while I have a fan pointed at me. The men are so outnumbered that we’ve finally given up any attempt to have the central thermostat adjusted lower. This despite the fact that it’s much easier for women to put on additional clothing than it is for us to shed ours.

They have their hoodies. I’m not about to break out my swim trunks.

A sundressed coworker still found it necessary to complain about the temperature a few months ago, and I couldn’t help but offer a helpful comment.

“Have you considered wearing something that covers your shoulders?” I asked. “You know, that might help.”

I also would like the opportunity to display a bare midriff. Getting a little bit of extra airflow working around the waist has to do wonders for the heat of your core. I admit I don’t have the figure to pull off such a bold fashion choice, but neither do most other people and that doesn’t seem to stop them.

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3 Responses to “Monday musings on laptops and midriffs”

  1. morethananelectrician Says:

    I hope you enjoy both your women’s clothing and your new laptop. If you are goign to change things…go ALL THE WAY!!!!!

    Maybe try “RESTORING” the abandoned computer and see if starting from scratch is more tolerable than having to purchase a new system entirely.

  2. Phillip Says:

    As a fellow Thinkpad man, the thinking man’s compuer, I sympathise with your loss. My own dinopad is nearly six years old, which is 75 in human years, is still with us, but has become creakily slow and unwieldy. Not wanting to risk moving it from the apartment, I gave it the month off and brought my tiny e-pc to Columbo, but the keyboard is so small I look like I have crippling arthritis when I use it, and the humidity and power surges have given it two near-death experiences of its own, in spite of its youth and Linux operating system.
    I’ve been salivating over the new Thinkpads, and when Window 7 comes out in October, I think I’ll put the old laptop out to grass and buy a new machine that will look exactly the same as the old one, except without the IBM logo, but I’ve read that Lenovo inherited much of IBM’s laptop design team, so it’s almost the same. Now, if only someone could change all my internal organs for ones that are five times more powerful but leave the chassis relatively intact. I wouldn’t mind a new chassis too, come to think of it, based perhaps on the Thinkpad.

  3. mary Says:

    Awesome blog post!Mary

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