Monthly Archives: November 2007


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If you’re a Mac person, remember how great it was when they got up to OS 9 and it hardly ever crashed? When the conflict catcher was built in and things really ran prettty smoothly? Now, of course, it seems like as primitive a system as possible, just six or seven years later, but man, at the time it was like a godsend to those of us who started back in System 7 days.

Why am I bringing this up? ‘Cause I got to install OS 9 again the other day. Our poor old iMac was the last kid picked for dodgeball, not just because it was slow and small, but because it was stuck on system 10.2 when everything else in the house was on 10.4, unable to print reliably or share files or access the iTunes library. Without a DVD drive, I thought I couldn’t put Tiger on it — but it turns out I was wrong. Workaround, patch cords, target drive, mumbo jumbo — point is, I found a way to install Tiger onto the iMac and bring it into the late aughts. BUT before I could do that, I had to upgrade the firmware. And the only way to do that was to turn on the wayback machine and boot into OS9. And the only way to do that was to set up a separate OS9 disk. And the only way to do that was to back up everything off the iMac, partition the disk, install OS9, then install OS 10.4, then restore every file I took off, then pray the whole thing hung together. Which it did.

That and a sudden change of location, to a new desk (made by yours truly) upstairs outside the bedrooms, and a sudden parental concession on the instant messaging issue, and suddenly the 7-year-old ruby iMac is the belle of the ball, the computer they fight over access to. (Wait’ll they find out it’s getting a memory upgrade!)

For your amusement

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Apparently, this will be one of those winters when I try to convince myself that I am a runner. Hilarity ensues.

I have been off the running because of the pain and the tearing and the aching and the inability move my right leg after a few attempts at what I laughingly call “running,” which has never yielded more than an eight-minute mile no matter how much pain I am willing to endure. A couple of years ago I was being cajoled into running a race that I hate because it’s in the evening and who the hell runs a race after 5 in the civilized world, and because there are way way way too many people in it such that pacing, for the first human-detritus-choked mile, is nearly impossible, and I always ended up jumping on the sidewalks and dodging the angular agents of frost heave at risk to both ankle and neck, so I said, “Know what? I’m not running anymore. Just biking. Call me when it’s a bike race.” (Which I totally don’t do. Talk about dangerous.)

But comes the winter and getting out onto the bike involves crazy layers of spandex and gloves and toe-booties to keep the extremities from freezing, and adds a windchill factor that can’t be ignored to every single ride, and a once-young man’s thoughts turn to running again and the absolutely miraculous number of calories one can eat when one runs every day. So I hit the indoor track at the Y the other day (cannot cannot cannot stay interested in running on a treadmill), making a left turn about every 100 feet, 14 laps to the mile, and today I did the high school track, a wonderfully rubbery delight without corners to speak of. Felt so good I followed it up with some laps in the pool.

And then, of course, I collapsed into a heap because I’m way to f’ing old for this nonsense. A little bit of exercise out in the cold completely wiped me out and made me not want to wake up until tomorrow. Pathetic! But I haven’t accepted that I not a runner yet this season, so expect that to come sometime after I start whining about how badly my ileotibial band hurts.

Let the winter begin!

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First Ice (November 019)

Okay, we had a long, beautiful fall, warmer and sunnier (and drier) than I had any right to, and as a result there was MUCH cycling, almost enough to make up for a weak spring. Oddly this year, time was not the issue, just competing priorities — rebuilding part of the garage in the spring, finally finishing the staircase project this fall. Now I haven’t been out in a couple of weeks because the sun has been fickle, it’s been windy, I’m chafing, my eyelids are tired or any one of a number of lame excuses for not doing it. So I gotta get out there today, if only for an hour.

Yesterday I went to the gym and, blasphemy of blasphemies, rode a cycling machine. Worse than that, it was one of the new ones with a video screen that lets you ride various imaginary courses. Goofiest thing ever, but a lot less boring than just riding the machine, which usually lasts about five minutes for me. It was even a pretty good simulation, adding resistance where appropriate and remembering when I had momentum. It was almost fun. I’m so ashamed. Still, no simulator is anything like an actual bike, so perhaps my shame will get me double-bagged into tights and winter riding jacket and get me the hell-damn out there today!

Mission creep, and please kill my brain

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Okay, first, mission creep. What is with all the cable channels that are losing their basic point? I know that this has gone on for ages, which is why there’s no more music on MTV and no more arts on A&E, but lately it’s been getting crazy. Why is TVLand (which I never watch) showing movies? Why is FitTV (which I do watch) showing home improvement shows? I’ll give the Independent Film Channel a pass for presenting an original series, “The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman,” because it’s possibly the funniest thing on TV. But still. What’s next? Knitting instructions on the Game Show Network? “An Original Comedy Central Drama”? The return of music to MTV?

Also, does anyone have a buttonhook handy? ‘Cause I understand they can be useful for an improvised lobotomy, which is what it is going to take to remove one of the most awful songs of all time, “Jesse’s Girl,” from my brain, where it became inexplicably lodged during leaf cleanup and from which it refuses to leave despite repeated efforts to shoehorn anything else into its place.