Home > Computers and Internet, Family > Entry 12/04/2010 04:27:06 PM – Mentat 591

Entry 12/04/2010 04:27:06 PM – Mentat 591


Saturday afternoon, sunset here.

Currently working on something like 5½ hours of sleep at the moment, and perhaps another ½ hour nap in the middle of the afternoon with the cat in the crook of my arm, some of the softer music playing on my iTunes, a pot of coffee polished off some hours before (and shortly after I woke up) and I’m still feeling pretty knackered from the all-nighter I had pulled with Glenn in Messenger and Skype. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time with it. He had introduced me to various comedy shows and standup comedians through the night: Mock of the Week, Frankie Boyle, Jason Whitehall, Stephen Hughes, the list goes on from my wanderings to related material… Couple this with Will sharing various references (to linkages) of the indubitable Stephen Fry in QI and Absolute Power and I spent a majority of my later afternoon through the night yesterday laughing so much my sides hurt. Heh, sitting here writing this journal entry and I find myself still feeling a bit tender and sore in the sides from it. *smiling* It was a wonderful distraction to the amount of muck that I’ve had in my head through the week as I tried piecing together elements to call it a journal entry.

Quite a bit since the last journal entry — both with the usual holiday family dysfunctional zaniness along with some personal issues that I’ve been mucking through. Even a couple of discoveries along the way that I might or might not make mention on. Depends on mood, eloquence, various distractions around the house, and noise in my head. So, if this journal entry seems to bounce about a bit like an epileptic in the throes of a seizure, then you’ve been appropriately warned.

First off the computer woes seems to have completely abated. I thought I had a couple of driver artifacts from the previous video card left in the operating system that were affecting the operation of the new video card (that had caused the system to crash during a restart a day or two after the new card had been put in). Turns out that the problem was that I had also decided on getting into the BIOS one last time to remove the default setting of activating the 3½” floppy drive during the BIOS flash that I had mentioned in the last entry. When I had reached the Windows splash screen I had forgotten I had left the PS/2 Keyboard installed (it works better in the BIOS than the USB keyboard) and pulled the plug on it causing the crash.

Getting back into the O/S after the crash, I decided to do a little investigative work because with that random crash during the start screen, I was doubly concerned that I was going to end up having to wipe the drive in the end as random crashes during start up are not the sort of thing I would like to look forward to when restarting the beast. Activating the Action Center, I decided on running the check for performance issues in the Troubleshooting section of the action center to see what kind of report it would generate. Two minutes later, the first issue that it reported was that the PS/2 keyboard was missing.

Scratching my head for a bit I mumbled to myself that it shouldn’t matter whether or not a PS/2 keyboard was attached, I swapped it for the Logitech G110 keyboard some months ago. Looking at the hardware settings of the Video Card, I stumbled across that it was in fact sharing a couple of the same memory and IRQ settings as the old PS/2 keyboard.

Then it hit me like a bolt. I had originally installed Windows 7 on this machine with the old PS/2 Keyboard from my previous system as I wasn’t quite ready to swap out keyboards because of comfort and familiarity. When I swapped out to the USB keyboard and finally got used to it, I put the good ol’ PS/2 into storage for just in case I ever would need to get into the BIOS, or as the good packrat IT Technician I can be have to pull it out in case the current keyboard meets an untimely demise.

Getting into the Device Manager in the Control Panel, it was simply a matter of finding the keyboard settings for the old PS/2 and uninstalling them. Once that was done, things were running smoothly and haven’t experienced anything other than the sometimes system crashes that come from various Windows programs that I already knew were occasionally problematic within the OS themselves.

I’ll continue to watch what’s going on for another week or two; though at the moment everything is running exactly as expected. And I’m more than happy about that.

Cricket continues to do well. She’s moved up from pâté type canned cat foods to grilled and chunky types. While she seems to have problems eating more than 3½ cans of the Fancy Feast a day; she is solidly sticking to at least three cans a day on her own. I’ve since moved her Metamucil from the pâté food to a mixture of water I give to her in the morning. Heh, I tried to sneak the stuff into her food and wouldn’t you know that she’ll eat around the section of food that it was put into, instead of eating it.

Ugh, pain in the ass cat. Though at least she’s getting meat on her bones and doesn’t as emaciated as she was back during the summer. Though given the way she eats (including eating the dry which is really sparingly, though an improvement from not eating it at all) it’s going to be some months before she looks completely healthy. That and I have to completely cut out even watered down milk for her. Seems that when she has any, she completely stops eating for the day — which completely concerns me as she also just lays there at my feet or in the bed the majority of the day without touching anything.

In fact, she did that yesterday and had me completely concerned. So concerned in fact that by early evening as she had stopped eating completely I had to syringe feed her a can of the hanging around pâté food so as to keep her on schedule. Shortly after her finishing that can, she was back to right as rain and right now, she’s up to can 3 for today because of it. And as I’m finishing this part of the entry, she’s once again back to the throw at my feet, cleaning herself and enjoying the softer music I’ve chosen to play while writing this.

Last Sunday my aunt comes in and tells me that my uncle had given her a call and requested that I call him back on his cell phone and then proceeded to get all bossy on me telling me that I needed to call him back immediately. Told her I would once I get settled back down and things in the house are back to normal as Sunday is laundry day and the house tends to be really loud while the laundry’s going.

My aunt bothered me two more times after that getting all bossy about calling him immediately, of which I told her that I would call when I was good and damned ready to deal with whatever the problem it was that he was having. I knew it was computer related, though I wasn’t entirely sure what kind (though given the last time I was over there putting together his system as he got all spiteful and mad and went on a random mass deletion spree without using the uninstallers).

So I eventually called him by mid-afternoon, got his voicemail, was relieved and left him a message with the number, and waited for his call back. Did he call me back from his cell phone? No. He called my aunt back and my aunt handed me the phone to talk with him.

Did he check his cell phone? No. Did he know I called him back? No. Trying not to get annoyed with following his requests and him not checking, I listened to what he needed and it was clear it was computer problems as I had suspected. Seems that he finally did get around to updating his old Gateway computer and getting a newer AMD from HP (I know, I know… I wasn’t there to convince him, he went out and bought from Best Buy the week before), and needed my expertise in putting the unit together and get it up and running.

And so, for the running price of beer and pizza (which is the same price for helping friends move apartments from one part of the state to another), we had settled for him stopping by to pick me up Tuesday morning sometime after 9:30 AM to head over to his place, assess the equipment and get it up and running as painlessly as possible.

Of course, Monday night, I ended up staying up way too late for my own good, spending the majority of my night chatting with Will and Glenn (and Stuart) across the big pond and staying up until well after 2 AM; I knew that I would be feeling some pain in the morning even with me getting up at 9 AM (for him to pick me up at 9:30) with the mad dash shower, dressing and feeding the cat before rushing out the door.

Instead, I’m awoken by my aunt who comes into the apartment at 8 o’clock to tell me that my uncle would be getting here by 8:30 AM instead and swearing up a blue storm, I was up and toward the shower with a shot. Getting out of the shower, my aunt tells me that he had called back (and still hasn’t once called my cell phone in spite of the fact that I repeated my number eight or twelve times the night before and told him it’s in his cell phone) and changed the time to 9:30 AM as Auntie Norma thought it too early and wasn’t ready for entertaining guests.

9:30 AM came and went.

My aunt decides to put her two cents in given that I was vaguely aware that the two of them had been bickering. Seems my uncle (my aunt’s brother) has once again picked up the habit of smoking marijuana for occasional recreational smoking, and she’s been pissed off about it. Instead of handling it like an adult, she instead channeled her mother — my grandmother — turning all recriminating and accusing that my uncle has once again becoming a “drug addict” using the same vehemence and disgust as my grandmother did when my uncle came back from the Vietnam War and was heavily addicted to Hash, Pot and Heroine.

Now for me, I find her getting up on her high horse about his pot smoking to be more than a shade hypocritical, given that she also used to smoke the stuff before she had retired. She has also said several times in the last 3 – 4 years that she misses smoking the stuff, and the only reason why she doesn’t actually smoke is because she could no longer afford it (although I suspect it’s also because I don’t think she knows anyone that could sell it to her, with the minor reason of some of the prescription medications she’s on).

I simply told her that whatever feud is going on, that she needs to get over it — be it kissing and making up, or doing what I’ve done with my immediately family and simply cut off contact with them. Either or, as I had said to her, I was not going to find myself in the middle of their bickering and I wasn’t about to stay there as this isn’t the first time the three of them (my aunt, my mother and my uncle are all siblings) they have had something of the sort going.

So, 10:00 AM came and went and he wasn’t here.

Getting slightly exasperated, I pulled out the iPod put something on to listen to and mediated while waiting.

10:15 AM and he’s coming into the house walking almost like my grandfather (his father) all stiff with Parkinson’s. Even with the quick glance, and in spite of the extra-dark sunglasses he was wearing I can tell that since the last time I had seen him (sometime almost 2 years prior), that he’s since had his prescription medications increased. Though I stayed quiet for the most part, and headed to his house with a quick stop by a local Dunk to bring my sanity bubbling to the surface and stay awake for the remainder of the day.

Turns out, he bought himself the same sort of computer my aunt did, so set up was pretty much a breeze. Software was equally easy as I didn’t load up a tenth of the old programs that I had before. There was no need really, they didn’t use a tenth of what I had loaded up on the system and what I decided on removing will certainly keep my uncle out of the sort of trouble that he really doesn’t need to be part of. Also decided to change out AV programs for my aunt and uncle from AVG which I’ve had less success with in recent years to McAfee (mainly because Cox offers it as part of the residential package). Good thing too as a couple of days later I saw this article hit several of the tech e-newsletters regarding update woes in Windows 7 for AVG, and the last thing that I wanted to deal with is having to go back to their place to perform a system repair so soon after set up. They wouldn’t understand the problem, and they would lose confidence on it being Windows 7 and the new computer and not actually a coincidence with AVG’s updates.

In the end, I was able to get their computer up, get them introduced to the changes between Windows XP and 7, have supper with them and get the other side of the bickering/feud with my uncle. Told him the same thing I told my aunt (his sister), simply adding that he really, really should talk to his doctor on the reactions of THC with the various prescription medications that he’s on (and he’s on some pretty strong pain killers and mood elevators too). I don’t think he listened, though as I’m not his father I could only extend the stressing with him just for far. Although I did get the chance to talk to his wife – Auntie Norma – and suggested that if she’s finding it difficult and wants to get involved, to get in contact with his doctor at the VA Hospital and nark on him to his doctor. That might satisfy the lot of them and get my uncle to snap out of his “I can handle it” bullshit denial.

Got back home relatively early with the promise that I’d be seeing them for Christmas Dinner. Should be fun given Auntie Norma’s grand daughters will be there and I’m sure they’ll be asking the routine tech questions that come when they see me. Should be fun, providing I can avoid the minefield that’s going to cause as I haven’t told anyone here what I’m planning on doing.

I’m going to call it a night for the time being. I can barely string two thoughts together anymore, which is a sure sign that I’ll be crashing shortly. I’ll write more tomorrow after I recover from this lack of sleep. Until then.

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