Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ink Blots

Gotta love advancements in technology.

I had a printer long ago (so long, it is still plugged into my Windows 98II computer... don't ask) that was the best ever. I printed hundreds, nay thousands, of pages on tiny little ink cartridges. It would even print on "empty". And when the colors ran out, well you could still print in greyscale. For a long, long, LONG time after the refill light began flashing.

Not so in the modern world.

There came the day when "regulations" ~cough cough~ required manufacturers of technology to no longer provide "updates" for computers created before 2007. This meant that by 2009 I could no longer do ANYTHING on my old workhorse & I was forced to upgrade. And print everything at work. Because I no longer had a printer at home that worked with my new computer.

So, always enamored of new toys, I invested in a copier/printer/scanner/fax machine. Not just any machine... a wireless machine so I could copy/print/scan & fax from anywhere in the house. Not only was it wireless, you could use a chip or flash drive.
Wow. Welcome to the new world.

And inside this grand brand new machine was not one "all your colors" ink cart.
Nope, I now had 5.
3 primary & 2 black.
And you can select between color & greyscale.
And I'm thinkin;, "This baby will print forever!!!"

~cough cough cough~

Oh, I am SO naive.

Because these new little ink carts obviously hold an eye dropper full of ink.
And use twice that each time you engage the printer.

Case in point.
We print a lot of text documents for school, work & other activities.
You know, text.
Black & white.
No fancy pictures, or highlights, or frilly fonts (like the old days).
Just... black letters. On white paper.

How declasse.
I know.

So, I need to print something about 3 weeks ago... and the "alarm" goes off.
Not kidding.
A light flashes & a bell dings & you are warned that the end of the world is coming.
And... the printer will not engage.
The small black cart is "low".
Every other ink is registering fine, I know, because there is a fancy bar graph flashing in front of me.
I have PLENTY of ink, even a FULL large black.
But, no, no dice, not printing if the little black is "low".


So, off I go, to the only place that has ink in a 15 minute drive radius.
Because, I live in the middle of nowhere.
And... they are out of exactly one brand of one color.
Yep... the one I need.
For 3 weeks.
Trust me, I "checked back" frequently.

Finally, I gave up, & drove the extra 30 minutes to one of those "office" stores.
Where a nice lady met me at the door, inquired as to my needs, bent over to get my ink for me off the bottom shelf, walked me to the check out AND gave me the lower price I would have gotten at the other store.

I happily returned home, glad to be back in the Land of the Printable, carefully removed the packaging on my new little ink cart, & inserted it into the machine.
Where... it was not recognized.

I did what any rational person would do.
I removed it & reinserted it.
Five times.
Still... the "Ink cartridge not recognized" warning came up & all the little lights on the other ink carts were flashing an angry red.
Finally, in an effort to figure out just WHY the new little ink cart wouldn't play nice, I noticed it.
In tiny little letters.
I'm sorry, I didn't even know they MADE gray ink!
Luckily, the store would credit me even though I had mangled the packaging (& been an idiot).

So, 2 days later, off again I drove... 30 minutes there & back again.
And unpackaged & reinserted my new little black ink cart.
Only to have... you guessed it... now both the red AND the blue ink carts flashing at me & the alarm going off!!!

Excuse me?

I only print in black & white?
Who-body stole my colors?

OK, fine.
I can still print stuff at work.
Except, now I need to scan something.
You know, that technology where you insert a document, the green light passes over it, & it saves to your computer.
No printing involved.
Only, in an effort to be efficient, save me from certain doom, & drive me mad, the copier/printer/scanner/fax machine is incapable of performing ANY function if the ink is low.

And, yes, I removed the carts, shook them vigorously & replaced them.
Several times.

So, off I went to the 15 minute away store.
Only to find (drum roll please) that although now they were sufficiently stocked with black ink, they were out of red.


My only recourse was to purchase the "saver" pack.
You know, the one with all 3 primary colors AND the large black ink. (The small black ink is suspiciously absent from the "saver" pack!)
I saved... $1.

~cough cough cough cough~

I came home, connected the cable to the laptop (because, of course, the wireless isn't working either), turned on the machine, and watched the little alarm go off. Again.
So... I did what any person would do in this situation.

I smacked it.

And proceeded to scan my document AND print 20 pages, some in FULL color of the beautiful USF campus complete with blue skies & palm trees, without a hitch.

Note: at this point, I still have not replaced the "empty" red or blue inks.

I swear, this whole thing was a conspiracy of some sort.

And now I know why psychologists use ink blots for sanity tests.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life in the Country...

I love living in the middle of nowhere.

It just takes the simplest of things to remind me of that little fact.

Sometimes, I just need to lie in bed & listen to the coyotes as they sing to each other in the otherwise still of the night.

Sometimes, I just need to peek out the side window & watch as the first blush of the sunrise warms the sky over the lake.

Sometimes, I just need to stand alone in the middle of the driveway underneath the blanket of stars.

Sometimes, I just need to stand at my front window & watch as a pair of foxes trot up that same driveway as if dropping by for a visit.

And, sometimes, I just need to look at my own front door.

My door was looking rather naked since the halls were undecked of their Christmas finery. It's a little too early to put up the cheery Spring orchid wreath, so I set off to find a little mid-winter inspiration. So, off I went to visit my dear friend "Michael", at whose place I found a nice little garland & inexpensive sign.

"Believe" used to be my screensaver years ago, a simple reminder that scrolled across my computer in beautiful Dragonscript font. It was a quieter time, filled with dragons & faeries & many more moments to dream. Stumbling across that little sign brought a wistful little smile, & I decided that I may need to be reminded a bit more often.

So, armed with my simple supplies, & with The Batman's assistance, I formed a new little welcome wreath; just a little reminder that Spring is on its way.

I wonder if my fox couple noticed :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Thought Experiment

Or... how I woke up this morning thinking about... Schrodinger's Cat.

And I decided to do a little more in-depth research.

Then I got sidetracked, & started clicking on Wiki links... which then led to me all sorts of random places.
Like quantum mechanics... and an episode of SG-1... & Douglas Adams... & Van Helsing... and Tears for Fears...

It made me realize that I'm still the same geeky kid I always was, only with a bigger base of things to explore.

I am the same little kid who used to pull down an encyclopedia (thank you, Jiminy Cricket, I can still spell it right!) to look up something simple, like dogs, or quartz, or Jacques Cousteau. And hours later, you would find me on the floor, amid a PILE of books, having leapt from one article to another, eventually ending up at a completely unrelated document, but totally enlightened.

It's what I do.
It's the way I think.
It's how I learn.

A seemingly random pattern, I know.
But everything really IS related, & linked, & intertwined.
And if you look long enough, & click on enough links, You'll see what I mean.

People always looked at me oddly when I said I read encyclopedias.
"You mean, for fun?" was the typical response.
Yes, for fun.
My little set of World Books, probably purchased from some door to door salesman, was the best gift little geeky me ever got.
(Note: I never DID get that Barbie I asked for, or my life may have turned out completely differently!)

Those books nurtured a lifetime full of curiosity & a love of learning.
I "went" places I had never dreamed of, or even heard of, & saw things I never knew existed. I learned about epicenters, & breeds of cats, & discovered the capital of Luxembourg is... wait for it... Luxembourg. (Much like years later, my children would learn the the capital of Djibouti is... Djibouti.)
I learned my constellations, & then went on to learn about the mythology of who & what there were named after.
At one point, I could list the first 100 winners of the Kentucky Derby.

It may seem pointless, my love of random links.
And sometimes, it is difficult to work the basics of quantum physics into everyday conversation.
And no one will play Trivial Pursuit with me.

But it keeps my busy.
And thinking.
And curious.

And I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coming Clean

OK, so yesterday was a "snow day".


The phrase snow day typically brings to mind a blizzard... with white out conditions, hazardous driving, doorway high drifts blocking your comings & goings.

Yesterday really wasn't all that.

If snow were rain, then one might say that it drizzled all day.
It was so cold, that instead of huge, puffy flakes, there were these tiny little things that just sort of rained down all day.
And not really ALL day.
More like from 11 or so on.

So, technically, if I had really wanted to get out & get some things done, I really DID have the opportunity to do so.
The sanders had come through early (much too cold for the salt to work), & the plows even made a couple early passes.
And the driveway wasn't that bad.

But I really didn't feel like going anywhere, or seeing anybody, or doing anything.

Sometimes, it's just nice to have an excuse to keep the yoga pants on all day & not have to worry about mascara or whether your socks match.

So, yes, I kind of blew the whole thing out of proportion in the name of leisure.

And it was wonderful :)

I accomplished things that I wanted to... not that I "had" to.

I spent a little time in the kitchen creating a new cookie recipe.
And for dinner, made a big pot of "warm you to your toes" Roasted Garlic Potato Soup. You know, one of those, "oh my word, so much chopping & roasting & blending" sort of soups that you usually don't have time for.

And I Tabata'd, & corresponded, & did some light reading, & played with the cats.

All in my yoga pants.

Because of a "snow day".

I need those more often :)