Sunday, March 05, 2006

Magnetic Personality

There is something about me and electronic equipment that I have never figured out. I think I have some electrical field around me that interferes with anything electrical through some mystic means. When I was a kid and I dare to date myself in this way, we had milk machines. Put in a quarter and out dropped a quart of milk. For two quarters, you were rewarded with a half gallon. One day, my mother, her friend Grace and I were on our way home and she stopped at the local milk machine giving me a quarter telling me to jump out of the car and get a quart. I put the money in just as usual, heard the machine roar into action and thunk, and out came the milk. As I was heading back to the car, I heard more rumbling. I did a double take of my stomach, but there was no activity there. Then I heard the familiar thunk again. A second quart of milk appeared. A bit confused, I went to fetch this little present that the machine provided and again started toward the car…but not for long. Thunk, rumble, rumble, thunk. The machine was spitting out quarts of milk faster than my dog could run when he knew it was bath time. My mother and Grace went from laughing to hysterical as the car was filling with wax cartons of cow juice. By the time the mechanical cow quit producing, we had 36 quarts of milk. What happened next is yet another story.

On Thursday, one of my students came over to work on my old computer. They added some new RAM for me and insisted that it was worth my while to reformat the thing. Since this was not my primary computer, I let them do their thing and went into the living room to grade papers. They could not get the CD reader to read the Windows XP disc to reload it. They knew that when I nailed the front door shut and put up other obstacles that I meant business when I said they could not leave until they were done. After four hours, they finally finished. They both looked like they had run a marathon, the sweat was pouring down their faces. I cleared the door and let them go after I was satisfied that the computer was working and the WiFi card was picking up the router successfully.

Friday, I spent most of the day putting programs on it that either Ron or I would use if the other were on the main computer. The performance was swift and I was thrilled with having it cleaned out. We also had a Fulbrighter and her husband stay with us this weekend, so it was helpful to have them use the alternate computer so I could get work done.

This morning, I booted up the spare at the little work station in the corner of the kitchen. I checked e-mails and set it to stand-by. Ron mentioned that the WiFi cartridge is sticking out of the front of the machine and someone is going to knock it off. I took it off and put it in the USB port in the back of the computer. The Internet did not work. I put it back where it was. The Internet did not work. I tested the connections, I fiddled with the movement of the card in the USB, I did all that was on my limited agenda for checking. Nothing! Now the cordless keyboard and mouse are not working either.

My student returns to Budapest tomorrow and will be over to look at it. From now on I will wrap myself in lead before going near it again.

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