Sunday, December 21, 2008

I think I'll stay in today

I just walked down to the end of the driveway to retrieve the one newspaper we get each week, which owes its position as sole survivor of the seven per week that we used to receive to the passel of dollar-saving coupons stuffed inside it. The daily was canceled upon the sad passing of our hamster; she was the only one that found anything even remotely useful in its pages, that being their absorptive properties more than any objective news reporting printed thereupon. I mention my trek to the delivery point not to bemoan the state of the 21st century press but to point out that it is bitter cold out there. Something in the negatives, I believe, with the kind of cold, piercing wind that reminds men that they have nipples.

I won't lack for entertainment, having been presented with an early Xmas present in the form of a new game for the computer. I will spend such time as I can fighting the Germans in Operation Market Garden proving, as I always do with games of this sort, that the only thing that kept Hitler from winning the war was that I wasn't in it. The action is fast and frantic and the pace is maddeningly fast. In many games of this nature that doesn't matter. You can find a nice, safe place to cower down and catch your breath and try to gather your thoughts. Sure, your squad leader will be hollering his head off to get you back into the fight, but you can safely ignore him. The Germans will wait.

Not so with this one. Now I am the squad leader, so it's up to me to tell the rest of the guys what to do. And there's no time to noodle it - the Germans will advance if given a chance. The idea is to use the assault team and machine gun team under my command to suppress the Germans while either the other team or I find a way to flank their positions. It's startlingly realistic in the graphics, sounds, and my incompetence as a leader getting a lot of my guys killed.

"Rank Has Its Privileges"
(Click for larger)

I was hoping for flyable weather today having spent a long day indoors yesterday due to an even uglier day. There's no hurry, I suppose, since I don't have to be back to work until Jan. 2nd. Breakfast at home for two weeks! All of that black pepper bacon is surely going to have a demonstrably bad effect on my cholesterol numbers, but if eating bacon means the difference between living to 87 versus say, 85, that's a deal I'm willing to make. Breakfast time is fun, too. Yesterday we had a full kitchen with me, the co-owner, and co-pilot Egg getting in each other's way as we prepared our meals. I heard Egg complaining about not being able to use the specific spatula that she wanted to stir the eggs and that the alternative spatula was not up to the task. That, for some reason, triggered long suppressed memories of the old Dating Game TV show:

"Spatula number two, what would you do to stir my eggs?" I thought that was horribly funny, of course, but the co-pilot not only found it to be anything but funny, but somewhat frightening as well in a genetic sense. She's afraid that some time in the near future she too will start making awful jokes like that. She might be right, if genetics gets a vote. Oh well, at least I didn't bequeath her my roman nose!

The rest of the day was taken up with rearranging the PapaGolf Data Centre. Recent additions of furniture and equipment in the Operations Centre had changed the configuration such that everything needed to be rearranged to make better use of the limited space. It also presented an opportunity to winnow out abandoned cables and retrieve things that had fallen behind the desk.

As I was moving stuff around, I decided to take one more crack at getting my recalcitrant UPS to live up to its commitment to provide electricity to my more critical components in the common event of a power outage. I bought it a few years ago, but it has never worked right. What should happen when you have your computer plugged into a UPS when the power goes out is... nothing. Everything plugged into it should keep working, albeit only for so long as the battery can provide sufficient juice. With mine, however, the opposite occurred: everything went off. I verified that I had connected the battery correctly, as boldly stipulated as a requirement for operation on a bright yellow sticker right on the top of the unit. It never worked, and I finally just forgot about it and left it in place to act as a surge protector, that being deemed to be better than nothing.

As I tested the UPS again once I had it out from behind the desk, I found that the situation remained unchanged. No power from the wall meant no power to the PC, as always. Before hiding it away again in my shame for not being able to make it function correctly, I decided to remove that ugly, glaring, and taunting yellow sticker. Guess what was underneath that sticker? Well, there were three more outlets, marked as "Battery Backup & Surge Protection." The outlets that I had been using all of these years were marked only with "Surge Protection." Do the math on that: I've been using the wrong outlets all along. Sigh.

Oh well, at least I have a functional UPS now. Well, I actually always had a functional UPS, so I should say "at least I have a functioning brain now."

My troops would probably argue that point.

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