Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Nightmare Before Christmas, 2016

My Nightmare Before Christmas, 2016

Well, 2016 was a nightmare for many of us: terrorist attacks, the disaster in Syria, all of the music superstars we lost, Trump becoming the leader of the free world, etc. Total bummer, right? But this is all about me, so...

Although i didn't realise it at the time, my nightmare began at the end of October, when i ordered some Christmas cards from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. A worthy cause for sure and my new favourite singer, Dan Fogelberg, died from it nine years ago. Dan's widow, Jean, who's an artist (, designs cards for them every year and she's really good: at the website, the cards looked beautiful. The shipping alone cost me about $33 Canadian, but what the heck, you can't put a price on art.

By the first week in December, though, they hadn't arrived and i was starting to worry: mailing deadlines were fast approaching. I went out and bought yet more cards and sent off the overseas ones. Second week in December, still no sign of them and i sent off the cards to the USA, and then, in a fit of controlled panic at the end of the week, sent off the domestic ones. I'm very afraid that many of them won't have arrived on time.

Jean Fogelberg's cards arrived on December 28th. By FedEx. Two months to the day after i ordered them. Two months from California to Ontario. They really are beautiful, though, and, looking at the bright side, i won't have to spend any money on cards next year. (Always thinking ahead, that's me!)

Two weeks before Christmas, as the nightmare continues, my phone died. When i arrived at work that morning, i powered it off (as i always do). When i finished my shift i tried to power it back up and ... nuffing! Nada. Zilch. The warranty expired in October and there was still ten months left on my contract. So i took it in to town to the office of my provider, Mornington Communications and spoke to Tyler there (i love being with an independent -- i may not have 24-hour tech support but there's an office in town and i know the techs by name) (and they know me). We determined that the battery itself wasn't the problem, that is was more likely the motherboard, which may or may not have been repairable. Did i want to spend $60 to discover that it wasn't? Well, no, i didn't, particularly, so off i went to Staples and bought a new phone -- just an inexpensive one, $150. It only has to last me for six months or so, when my contract will become renewable. (Samsung Galaxy phones are the only kind i've ever used.) It works all right, i suppose, although it's not as fast or as multi-featured as my other one. But at least it works.

The next day -- the very next day -- the monitor for my Windows 7 desktop computer died. Arrrgh (i said to myself), why me???? I had an old monitor in the closet so i hooked that one up, but, nothing, and now that i think about it, the reason it was in the closet may well have been that it had died, too. So, back i trudged to Staples and spent $300 on a new wide-screen monitor -- a very nice one, too. Too bad it didn't fucking work!

It hit me that maybe the monitor hadn't been the problem, but the PC -- its graphics card not sending a signal or something? So i hooked up my old Windows XP machine -- which i'd retired when Microsoft dropped support for XP -- to the new monitor and yay! it worked fine. Whew, and least i'd have an Internet connection for Christmas.

Worked fine, did i say? Yes, until Dec. 23rd, when it died too.

Well, this was an untenable situation. I couldn't be offline over Christmas. If i took the Windows 7 machine in to be repaired, it would never be fixed in time, so, the best solution i could think of was to make the snowy trek back to Staples and drop $500 or so on a Windows 10 laptop. (Staples loves me.) (Must explain why i receive so much spam email from them.) This was, in fact, the first time in my life i've ever bought a brand new computer -- previous PCs and laptops have all been pre-owned. My, i was impressed by how inexpensive they are now. (My first Windows 95 PC, with its magnificent 2 G of storage, cost over a thousand bucks. For half of that, i now have a laptop with 1 T of storage!)

I think that my techno-nightmare has subsided now, and i shan't even mention how ill i was on Boxing Day! (It was alcohol and over-eating wot dun that, not technology.)

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