Archive for December, 2009

December 29, 2009

the 49th Parallel

Long day today and given that I am tired it may be best to summarize it in my much loved point form.

  • Woke up a bit earlier since the folks and I had to go on an expedition to help Mum’s best Toronto friend buy a new Mac. Apparently, after using them for a mere 25 years I am considered an expert on such things by the elderly.
  • Her friend Mickie arrived at about half past one and we headed to her house so I  could see her existing Windows setup and figure out what she needed to get.
  • Drove to Best Buy..saw the Mac Mini which seemed ideal but they were sold out of the lower priced model ( and the other one is something of a ripoff in comparison)
  • Drove to Square One in Mississauga to  go to the Apple Store there.
  • Drove around for 30 minutes looking for a parking spot.
  • Got into the mall and managed to find the Apple store.
  • One of their “geniuses” aka sales clerks latched on and questioned us about our “needs” as if she was planning to make a feature film at home.
  • He kept talking trying to sell her every bloody extra service that Apple has ( MobileMe, One to One etc etc) which , even though I subscribe to a couple of them, I just know is a total waste of money since Google does it all for free.
  • He rang up the Mac Mini, a mouse and a VGA adapter while standing there using  a clearly non-Apple manufactured hand held device.
  • Walked out of the store before the bugger tried to convince Mickie to buy something else or to pay for Apple Care ( if it buggers up it will most likely do so during the normal warranty year and if it buggers up after that it will most likely be an Apple manufacturing flaw which will force them to extend the warranty or risk a class action suit.)
  • Left the store and looked at the bill..I expressed horror that an Apple USB mouse cost $50 before tax and said we could get a cheaper one anywhere else.
  • Walked back into the store and returned it – ignoring the sales clerks view that it was the mouse equivalent of Jesus.
  • Walked over to The Source and bought an HP 4 button mouse for $20.
  • Drove back to her house where I used her existing monitor and keyboard an had it up and running in about 15 minutes.
  • Kept switching back the keyboard and monitor to figure out how to transfer her files over without a flash drive or a DVD burner ( and no blank CDs)
  • Scratched head a lot. Had Coffee.
  • Eventually managed to network the Mac and the Windows machine using an ethernet cable.
  • Dragged all the files over quickly.
  • Was then asked if I could “erase” the old machine so they could get rid of it.
  • Scratched head again since my Linux boot disk was home and I couldn’t very well erase the drive it was booted from.
  • Had a lovely salmon dinner Mickie made for us.
  • Went back at it using Mac logic.
  • Created a new administrator account on the Windows machine. Erased the original my documents folders and wiped the free space.
  • Logged out of old account and into the new one.
  • Erased the old Admin account and all its files.
  • Wiped the free space using a 4 pass system.
  • Unplugged everything from the old computer and cleared up the cables leaving the Windows box all packed up and ready for donation.
  • Mickie was thrilled with her Mac and was especially thrilled by all the included Apple software.
  • I downloaded Open Office for her to open all her old docs and spreadsheets etc….as I also had to beat the Apple genius away from trying to sell her iWork.
  • Showed her the old “hold down shift key while clicking the minimize button on an open window” trick and let her marvel at the slow motion genie effect ( that one gets them all the time.)
  • packed up and all of us were driven back home after hugs and thanks.
  • Logged on to Ubuntu on my Toshiba and typed this blog entry.
  • Had a scurrilous text exchange with Alvin back in Trinidad simultaneously.
  • Pondering bed now and resisting the urge to check over this entry for the innumerable typos that are present.
December 25, 2009

in terra pax hominibus, bonae voluntatis

Just a note to wish everyone reading a very Merry Christmas. I am now in Toronto with my family and, as I get on in years, I realize that it is probably the best place to be at this time of year.

I spent the two weeks before my departure from Trinidad working 7 days a week doing so many things my head was spinning simply in order to spend time with my parents. As it happened I arrived in T.O.  in time for my birthday though at my age I just assume it is another step towards the great abyss. Frankly, given how much I love sleeping,  the abyss might be just my cup of tea. As I may have mentioned before I don’t think if was hit by a bus and died I would go with many regrets. Perhaps I should have written a novel by now but otherwise I have accomplished the few things that I set out to accomplish in life.

As we head towards the end of another year ( and another birthday is under my belt) I am still annoyed that nobody told me that the hardest thing about living past forty is seeing your parents get older. I consider my Mum and Stepdad my parents and for the last few years I only get to see them during my annual vacation. They are both in their seventies now and whenever I come home I see them getting frailer and a bit more addled … yet still they behave as though I am a kid and  want to pay for everything and keep asking if there is anything I need. Naturally, I don’t need anything and don’t take anything but I am usually so overwhelmed with the need to do things for them that I tend to overdo it. They now have a surround sound system that I know will be unused after I leave because it involves pushing two extra buttons. So while I am here I will cook for them and get them things that they need ranging from simple things like new drinking glasses to stuff they really don’t know they need but I think they do.

I gather the hardest thing in the world to bear is losing a child but to me outliving my parents would be a horror I cannot even contemplate. In my cheerier moments I think there might be some global cataclysm that would result in all of us going at the same time…such is my sick mind.

Still, right now I only have to deal with NOW and that is quite good. I have a great job, my folks are alive, I am applying to Harvard and Celine Dion hasn’t released any records lately. So, as the snow gently falls outside and I face a night of blissful quiet with no dogs barking and no music throbbing in the  background ( damn you Trinidad that I have to come back to Toronto for peace and quiet) I am full of temporary contentment.

On that note –  in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis