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I’m at the library today, trying to do my stuff on a high-speed connection…and there’s something wonky with the library’s connection–keeps dropping. Sometimes, you just caint win fer losin. *sigh*

Okay, but I fixed my connection on my home computer. Here are some things I learned about troubleshooting on Linux.

Nobody at any help desk (other than a Linux help desk) has done more than heard a vague rumor of Linux, and then they think it’s some kind of high-level foreign car.

If somebody says to you, “Let’s delete your connection and create a new one,” say, “I’ll get back to you.” Then WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR SETTINGS. Saves a lot of hair-pulling.

See, first I couldn’t figure out how to remind my connection manager that I have a pulse phone and not a touch-tone phone. Then my friend T looked online for me while I clung, weeping, to the phone. She read me some discussion, and something clicked. The initialization string, in case you’re wondering, has to be ATZ and the dial string has to be ATDP for pulse and ATDT for tone. So now you know.

Then, my connection was too slow to do much of anything. Charlie’s, using the same computer, was FAST. I finally realized it was a setting problem (did I tell you this already?). Anyway, check the connection settings to make sure the modem is set to same speed as the connection, so the lines don’t get data in their throats and choke on it. It’s hard to do CPR on a virtual chest. I guess you could do the Heinlein Maneuver….

Anyway, here is a proof that my husband loves me: a path he shoveled from our front door to my mother’s front door, so I could walk up and visit with her. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s day tomorrow to all!

Me, I’m about half-past ready for Spring.

MA

writing prompt: Have a character show love for another character in a non-“traditional” way.

We had a dusting of snow here a couple of nights ago, and I got these snappies of our porch and Mom’s porch. I love a light snow. It’s so strange and cool, the way you can trace the shadows of the trees by where the snow lasts longest. It’s so weird, the way you see the outlines of things so clearly when the outlines are highlighted by white.

So, on Mom’s side porch, there were these marks of the birds she feeds there. And, on our back porch, there was this dusting of snow and these parallel lines of dots. Know what they are? Nailheads. The metal nailheads were warmer than the wood, and melted the snow that fell on them. I am charmed.

The snow is gone, now, and the sun is shining out of a deep blue sky. It really looks like the year has turned. I know we have our worst weather yet to come, but the buds are on the trees, getting fatter by the day. Soon, we’ll have snowdrops and then crocuses and, eventually, MUSHROOMS.

I’m going to try–really really–to move my blog to my pro-site server in 2010. If I do, I’ll post the new address when I get it done and I’ll migrate everything that’s here to it.

MA

writing prompt: What does your main character think about winter? Cuss, if you want to.

We’ve had a light dusting of snow. It’s supposed to rise a little above freezing today, so it won’t last, but it is so beautiful.

Charlie is chopping and burning wood to keep the house warm and it’s so toasty! We’ve tried heating with electricity, but electric heat is COLD, even when it’s warm. That sounds like nonsense, but anybody who’s had steam heat or wood heat knows what I mean. It’s a lot of work for him, but he likes the exercise.  Maybe a little LESS exercise would be nicer, but…. Our next-door son-in-law used to help with the wood, but he’s been working so much overtime he hasn’t had time. So Charlie goes out and gathers wood. So many trees were felled by the big windstorm this summer that he has deadwood to chop up to last three seasons, he says. He comes in with a wheelbarrow load while I’m in the basement washing clothes, and says, “Hello, there, washerwoman!” and I say, “Hello, there, woodchopper!” We like each other.

I still haven’t heard from the doctor about my wrist, and Mom is champing at the bit to get out. Charlie said he’ll take us, but he doesn’t want to run around doing errands and eating lunch out the way we do. Grocery day is a day on the town for us, and he wants to, as a friend of mine used to say, “Kill it–bag it–take it home.”

Going to look at the snow some more, before it melts.

MA

Writing prompt: Write about three people who have three different attitudes toward snow.

I’m in my favorite place–the library coffee bar. “Coffee bar” is a little bit of an overstatement: it’s a table on the uncarpeted part of the floor with a thermos of coffee on the counter nearby. But the coffee is free, and there’s a place to plug in one’s laptop.

It’s right in front of the double emergency doors, so I have a great view of the corner. There goes Butchie Stilger with his guitar, coming from Cafe on the Square, the town’s new coffee shop. He plays classical guitar there sometimes on Friday or Saturday evening. He used to own Pythias Gallery coffee shop, which burned down a few years ago. I’ve written a story about that for the Southern Indiana Writers’ ghost story anthology, Spirits (or Ghosts–we haven’t decided) On The Square–And Elsewhere, due out in October. A friend of Butchie’s (and of my youngest daughter’s), Tom Schickel, died in the fire, and I was a little wary of writing about it, but my daughter and Butchie read the story and approved it.

I love sitting here, watching the cars and people while I work. One of the great things about living in a small town or identifying with a neighborhood in a big city is the feeling of interconnectedness.

Oh, there’s a truck full of chickens going to the Tyson’s plant. It reminds me of the time one of the cages came open and a chicken fell out in front of the library. Our oldest daughter caught it and took it to our #2 daughter, who had just moved with her husband to a house with lots of land just outside of town. Our #2 daughter, her husband and my husband built a deluxe chicken coop for the hen, who was named Libby in honor of the library, and three other hens were rescued from another bad situation to keep her company. They didn’t live long, but they lived happy.

My mother is at the dentist, and will walk the block to the library to meet me. If we lived in town instead of out in the country, we wouldn’t even need a car. I love that, too. I love our place in the country too much to pine for life in town, though, except when it snows and we can’t get out of our 1000-foot driveway!

Long time, no post. That’s because after I successfully installed and configured Linux Mandriva 2008 for myself and my husband, and after I took the case to the house of a friend with high speed internet so I could download all the updates and bug fixes, I… I… well, I was uninstalling programs we don’t use and I… I nuked a bunch of the files that make the OS run. I even nuked something that makes it possible to reinstall important programs. So there was nothing to do but to reinstall and take the case over to the friend’s again and download the updates and fixes…again. What a maroon.

And did I learn anything? Probably not. My next busy-bee project is to figure out how to include a Windows drive in the configuration. I may be making another trip to my friend’s yet. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

In other “news”, we’re snowed in AGAIN. No freezing rain this time, but over 12 inches of snow. The roads are in good shape, even our back country roads, but our driveway is 1000 feet of snow-packed gravel. Church was canceled, so here I am writing on my blog while the laundry dries. Ah, life is a constant whirl of incident and excitement.

WELCOME TO MY BLAHG

Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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