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Don’t take the knife by the blade | The Bleat.

The switch flipped again around 1 PM. What had been sunny and warm grew overcast in a minute; a wind came up and the temps went down. Rain came later. All the leaves fell off. Snow by five. Then an asteroid hit.

Well, no. But it went from being nicer than you’d expect to being just as bad as you might fear – not the weather itself, but the sure knowledge that the good days are gone, and the bleak raw grey November are approaching like a tank.

I turned off the Oak Island Water Feature today. There wasn’t enough water in the tank to make the fountain splash. Pulled the plug. Now that I think of it, the weather changed a few minutes later.

I had offended the Gods. Or pleased them. Who knows with those guys.

Friday night we did not have the usual pizza, or anything else; daughter was at a sleepover. But the dog believed it was Friday, since no food as being made; he took a sentinel’s posture at the top of the stairs, and waited.

Eventually I took him out for a walk, and he trotted along with a brisk pace; he not only matched me but beat me, and made me run for the last lap, because he believed that pizza would be present when we got home. It was not. This would have meant a bad weekend for him, except A) dogs do not know weekends, and B) Sunday night he treed a raccoon. For a 15 1/2 year old dog this is like Sean Connery appearing as a hero in an action movie.

Later Friday night I went to the Mall to get my laptop back from the Apple Store. Beautiful night. Across the parking lot, the big condo / hotel.

The condo portion does not appear to be inordinately burdened with occupants.

I like the mall in the evening. More than ever it seems disconnected from anything serious or important. It’s no longer the Locus of Life, since the era of consuming for its own sake has dissipated. It’s almost a theme park. You get a certain nostalgia for the days when preposterously expensive ice cream and six-dollar coffee drinks were the natural right of anyone who had a rectangular piece of plastic in their pocket. I had a nice chat with the Apple guy who gave me my computer back, and we talked video codecs and conversion programs. I know you’re supposed to be able to change your own oil, and that’s the standard for being a man, but it’s time the modern equivalents got some respect.

Speaking of which, sort of: tonight at dinner Gnat was complaining about the dullness of her knife, and gripped the blade.

“Don’t pick up a knife by the blade,” I said.

“Why?”

“It’s a rule. Always assume a gun is loaded and never pick up a knife by the blade.”

“Oh.” She seemed impressed. Fatherly wisdom and all that. Then I reconsidered.

“Except if you’re throwing the knife. Then you hold it like this.”

“Why?”

“Because the weight of the handle gives it momentum when you throw it.” I’m just making this up, but it sounds right.”

This doesn’t fit anywhere, but I have to say it: you local Bleatniks have convinced me to try my local barbershops. Stay tuned for Adventures in the Land of Barbicide.

So many things to get done this weekend; did so few. Did all the site updates, wrote a Joe Ohio, finished the upcoming Travel section and redesigned the North Dakota small town site, but that sounds like actual accomplishment. Meh. Still formatting “Falling Up the Stairs” for Kindle et al, and finding out how to do this without signing some deal that gives me .07% royalty is annoying and confusing. One site will convert your book and put it in the store but they’ll take 25% of your 35%, but Amazon will give you 70% if you sign a particular interminable disclaimer, and Borders will have a new service that lets you publish easily and quickly for all the famous platforms like the UPod or the Kandle or the Nanook, and B. Dalton’s has a program for selling ebooks to the dead. Also, there’s the Apple iBookstore, which is like a combination of Fort Knox and a nudist leper colony: you can’t figure out how to get in, and you’re pretty sure you don’t want to anyway.

It should be better, but it’s not. It’s understocked, and as long as there’s Kindle on the iPad, who needs it? Me, that’s why: I want color. Kindle doesn’t know from color, as they say in old movies where people speak in tiresome Runyanesque dialects that eschew contractions and derive their comic style from gangsters who say things like “eschew.”

I’m getting used to reading on a Kindle, but I find it creepy that it shows pictures when it’s turned off. As far as I can tell I have no control over which ones are displayed. I had to turn the thing on and off again to get rid of a lousy picture of Emily Dickinson. Why would I want her on my reading device? Because she’s EMILY FARGIN’ DICKINSON, and hence I should say ohhh, she’s wonderful. How cool. Look at me! I am the sort of person whose electronical devices display pictures of cult poets.

Anyway. One success: getting my wife’s printer set up. I did this by buying a different printer. If you’ve been following the story: I bought her a printer. It did not want to talk to her computer. I took the printer back. I got another one. It refused to accept ink cartridges. I took it back. I gave my wife my old printer, but it decided that the ink cartridges were not official genuine HP cartridges, possibly because they were over a year old. Still, once a printer starts doing that, you have no idea what it’s capable of. So I used the store credit to get the cheapest possible HP printer ever made – six dollars more than the cost of replacement ink for the old one – because my wife prints fewer than 20 pages per year. If that. You might say: why not just let her use yours, and walk the file over on a thumb drive or via the local network? Heh: you’re a young feller, aren’t you? Not married? Didn’t think so. It’s a question of being able to just PRINT without doing anything else. That’s what Lola wants, and you know how that song goes.

So I got out the cords and looked at the manual. There was a sticker over the USB port, with pictures: the circle-red-slash over a picture of the USB cord being inserted, and then a picture of the CD with drivers inserted. The manual confirmed I SHOULD NOT UNDER PAIN OF DEATH hook up the USB cord before I have inserted the CD. So this I did. It thought a while. Then it said it could not be installed on this computer, because it was running 10.3, and it needed 10.5.

Sigh. Despair. I got out the disc for 10.5, fed it to the Mac Mini; for 30 minutes it made a sound like a rat trying to chew its way out of a wooden box, and then it said it couldn’t run 10.5 because it didn’t have enough RAM.

Sigh. Despair. In the end I got an old laptop I’d brought back to life last week while trying to reclaim some lost work stored in dead formats. Brought it up to the present, installed the drivers, and it’s happy. I’m about to make the first test print now. Be right back.

It works!

Matchbook museum; four more pages in LA Dining 1962, with a tantalizing mystery on the final page. See you around.

 

56 Responses to Don’t take the knife by the blade

  1. chrisbcritter says:

    Ah yes, the Ice House. I worked in a print shop in front of them on Colorado Boulevard from ’82 to ’90 and printed their tickets and flyers, so I got to know the managers Bob Fisher, Evan Fisher and Elaine Tallas. Real nice people. The folk music days were long over and it had become a comedy club; I saw some good comics there including Joel Hodgson, Dana Carvey, Dana Gould, Mort Sahl, Gary Mule Deer, a very young Jason Stuart (met him in a waiting room and we watched TV, making fun of Priscilla Presley’s hairdo) and even Soupy Sales (standup and stories about his TV show but no pies). Lily Tomlin’s This Is a Recording LP was made there. Check it out if you’re in Pasadena!

  2. browniejr says:

    Bgbear- no! Similar looking guy though, later played trumpet for Carson ( Not Doc…). The Systems Analyst was one of Gannon’s neighbors that came over to play cards, nod when Gannon told Joe he should get married and “settle down.”

  3. kbiel says:

    Never ever load the CD/DVD included with a printer. The drivers will already be present on your computer, either OS-X or Windows 2000+, or will be easily retrieved from the Internets, usually from MS or Apple’s servers. The reason they do not want you to plug in the USB first is that once you do you will find that the printer drivers installed automatically and the printer worked fine. Why is this a problem? Because then you get the drivers that were certified by MS or Apple without the extra bloatware they want to install on your system.

  4. Ross says:

    A small quibble, Genial Host: the “Doesn’t know from ____” phrasing isn’t Runyonesque, it’s immigrant English(specifically, Yiddish & German). Runyon’s characters, being New Yorkers, combined these familiar constructions _with_ high-flown vocabulary & no contractions. It almost certainly grew out of an imitation of some powerful or popular local character(starting as irony or satire, becoming habit & later required speech–what my circle used to refer to as “Hi, Honey–I’m Home!” Syndrome) and organically developed its own rules & forms as any other in-crowd slang/shibboleth does.

  5. fizzbin says:

    Pardon the intrusion (he said as he intruded) but in order to turn off a Kindle (other than calling it Sony) you have to slide and hold the off button for 5 seconds. This will not only bypass the screen saver, it will extend battery life. Simply flicking the off switch puts the Kindle on standby and draws power for awhile, necessitating recharging more often and subsequent battery replacement before its time…or whatever.

    Your welcome.

  6. CCH says:

    You can get rid of those creepy screensavers and replace them with better ones:

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2009/10/weird-kindle-tricks-screensavers-screenshots-and-games.ars

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