Letters to Holly

Thursday, January 7

Convening With Mentors

Our local Mexican restaurant hosts a school fundraiser the first Wednesday of each month. The proceeds go to the high school's language courses. The teachers are strongly encouraged to go, and I join in. We sat last night with teachers and their babies, and we all talked baby shop. We're shadowing parents now. The common question now is whether we'll learn the sex before the delivery. We hear stories of people who didn't want to know and others who learned at birth that the shipment was not what they ordered. We hope to learn next week, but there's no hurry.

I learned my mentored senior will fail English. A healthy chunk of that grade is based on the senior project. I was assured that he was simply a horrible student across the board.

The town is vibrating at the prospect of more snowfall before Friday morning.

We continue to eating Christmas leftovers. They're good. But still.

Our NFL Bet
It's been ugly for both of us. We're down to the one mutual team we picked (the Patriots), and it doesn't have an easy route for the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 (out of the playoffs)
New England Patriots 10-6
Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
Atlanta Falcons 9-7 (out of the playoffs)

Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 (out of the playoffs)
New England Patriots 10-6
New York Giants 8-8 (out of the playoffs)
St. Louis Rams 1-15 (worst record this season)

Picture of the Day
The Lost Supper. There's a rumor the State of the Union might land on the same Tuesday as the Lost season premiere and preempt it.

Wednesday, January 6

A Triumphant Victory of Winningness

With terror coursing through his tremulous fingers, the aging man approached the fearsome innards of the contraption. It sat silent upon the work desk. It was deactivated, silent. Lurking. But once it was awakened, none knew what might ensue. Would it continue its benevolent demeanor? Or would it instead lash out in a destructive fury bringing doom to all, including its own damnable existence?

HP Lovecraft could corner the market on computer-repair horror. (Wait. HP "Hewlett-Packard" Lovecraft?)

I paced the house until I goaded myself to get it over with, and it took 45 minutes. I had to open the PC frame three times to adjust the memory boards. They snap into place, and one frets about breaking them before hearing that snap. It didn't begin well. I used a power screwdriver to open the frame and then opened the memory-board package. The first instruction was not to use a power screwdriver to open the frame. F' F' F'.

I used a coat hanger to ground myself. I unwound it, stretched it out, and hooked it around my wrist and the PC frame. I thought I had bought the wrong board as the only obvious slot was too small. Then I realized those were hardware slots for adding components to the PC. I had to move wires to find the memory. Snap snap snap, a silent prayer to Ganesha and Odin and Batman, and I hit the power button. It cranked up. An online scan confirmed the memory upgrade, and it indeed runs quicker. I did it. I credit the new Tom Waits CD for getting me through. And of course Batman, Odin, and Ganesha.

Your Sister got through a long day of meetings, and her back was feeling it. She hitched a ride home with a fellow teacher. She was OK after supper. Behold the healing power of fajitarittos.

Picture of the Day
I need not your astromech droids.

Tuesday, January 5


I picked up a RAM chip for the PC while checking with the Best Buy employee and my notes from home. The latter is a stream of gibberish, a list of acronyms and numbers. Almost all of them match the RAM package I picked up from the shelf. All except the mHz, a measure of clock speed, a term I almost understand. The employee assured me what I had in hand would work with my computer. My online advisers, who also told us how to repair a wet iPhone, said I'm OK. We'll see.

I took the HP drive back to Target and surprisingly got my money back with no hassle. I went a few doors down to Office Max and picked up a Seagate drive at the suggestion of a pal. It works like a charm. Better, it works like a backup drive is supposed to. It doesn't, for example, crash Windows. I copied all my PC files last night. Your Sister is working late, and I hope to install the RAM tonight.

It's a quick process. You crack open the tower, remove the motherboard, clip in the memory, reassemble and turn on the PC. I've installed more complicated hardware back when I had to manually install a board for a scanner. As with that process, the biggest danger is static electricity. I'd like to have antistatic band, but I can work without it.

Your Sister is walking back from work tonight, and I told her to call me first. I'll walk to work and walk back with her. Why not drive, you ask? She wants the exercise. But I won't let her walk back alone so late in this lung-crushing cold. I think my abs have gotten a workout from shivering.

Picture of the Day
This one goes here, that one goes there. Right?

Monday, January 4

Back At It

I've looked at external back-up drives for months now. The miniaturization of memory created a glut of drives, and one goes snowblind looking at them on the shelves. I hoped to get one this weekend and had settled on which brand to get. Then I saw the new HP SimpleSave with 1 terabyte of space. It was only $100. A big name and a small price is usually a good sign.

Nope. It crashed my Windows repeatedly. Online searches found nothing but press releases, but I did learn this was the PC version of Mac's Time Machine. The SimpleSave purports to need no software installation and only a USB connection and Windows. It doesn't tell you on the package that it also needs an AC outlet and the most modern motherboard driver available. So no go. I've been advised by a trusted retail expert that Seagate is the bestest, and I saw Wal-Mart advertise a 500G drive for $50.

I spent most of Sunday learning how to update various PC components and eventually needed only to boot the PC with a homemade driver disc. Couldn't do it. My common-sense was tingling. I realized I needed a new back-up drive not a risky PC upgrade. I do plan to install new running memory today; I can do that fine. We want a drive to backup my PC and her laptop, and I doubt we could fill up 500 gigs even with five years of Roo pictures.

Your Sis is nursing a tender back and using an exercise ball to loosen her hips (hey now). We got a body pillow to keep her off her back at night to encourage vena cava circulation. We return to work today, and she has an exercise ball now in her classroom to help her make it through the workdays. I think she needs support shoes. Also, she's moved to the Be Band virtually everyday to prevent jean chafing on the belly. We're at 16 weeks today. The book says Roo has languo all over.

We had the occasional Roo philosophy chat yesterday. Normally we discuss practical matters like aches and food, but sometimes we hunker down and plan out parent strategies. We both have unspoken gender preferences for Roo, and we've agreed to keep it that way. We picked up a book on baby sign language; maybe we can have specific "conversations" with Roo before it can talk.

The back yard is a sheet of thick, unyielding ice. The neighborhood continues to host mini-glaciers, and this 20-degree weather ain't helping. I can't punch through with my heels anymore. If we hadn't scraped out the walkways and driveway, I think it would still be a ski jump.

Picture of the Day
Oh HP, why must you fail me so?