Friday, June 08, 2007

Schadenfreude 101: Paris is Burning

I wish behavioral scientists could explain to me the underlying mechanism that drives rubbernecking in otherwise intelligent humans. In my case, it's celebrity rubbernecking. Consider the train wreck that is Paris Hilton. She's in jail, she's out of jail, she may go back to jail again. To paraphrase the classic reaction to the Kramer portrait on Seinfeld, "(S)He is a loathsome, offensive brute--yet I can't look away."

Maybe I pay attention to these news flashes, these ridiculous wastes of ink and server space, for the same reason I sometimes watch "Forensic Files" on CourtTV. I love to see the bad guy get caught and punished.

Will she or won't be truly punished?

Only if everyone stops looking at the carnage. Because after more than 23 days at the Graybar Hotel, to have no one watching is the narcissistic celebutante's true worst nightmare.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Picking Lemons: The Buggy Hardware Rant

I would love to hear from other WAHMs about how they deal with technology problems that impact immediate deadlines when they have to be in their kids' classrooms in half an hour. (This blog is basically a public rant and a glorified diary and I have no idea how search-engine-optimized it is, so any comments from people who stumble upon it will be regarded as a welcome miracle--I'd love company.)

When I worked in software companies, the laptop brand that was ordered and issued by the flotilla to marketing and sales teams was Toshiba, specifically Satellites. When I went freelance, I got a Satellite myself to help build my image as someone who "gets" working inside software companies--not some freelance poseur--a real pro. When that one wore out a few years later, I got another one.

By the third Toshiba notebook, I'd unwittingly picked a lemon. Had nothing but trouble with the modem (this was pre-home WIFI days), which would essentially disconnect me from the internet whenever anything was plugged into the USB port. So if I was attempting to print a Southwest boarding pass, for instance, I'd be disconnected before I could get anything printed.

Or, if I was ballsy enough to try to load pictures from the camera while in the middle of an online session, all hell would break loose.

So, five modems, one motherboard, a floppy screen, and weeks of painful working on my husband's Mac later (only painful because I'm a geek girl and it bothers me that I can't tweak under the hood with Apple's OS and because all the file saving and transferring and MS Office inconsistencies were sending me postal), I decided to get another system.

I had averaged a new system every two to two-and-a-half years, so it was no big deal to invest again. (Cue scary music.) So I thought, "Hey, prices have come down. Why should I spend 2 grand on a system when I really just need Office and Adobe and web apps? Golly gee, doesn't this low-cost Gateway have a lovely display... shiny!" So I bought a $900 Gateway.

Two painful years later, I have discovered that it was an eMachines notebook. At the time I bought this piece of crap, it wasn't public knowledge that Gateway was acquiring them.

I won't even bore myself (much less any accidental blog tourists) by rehashing the nightmares with Geek Squad or the pain of renting a computer for $90 week after week or the explanations to technology-company customers about my tech problems or emails they'd have to resend or the other fallout from a hard-disk crash when I hadn't done a backup in months (if I'm ever audited for 2006 taxes, I am up a creek).

If any other MarcomMoms out there have an unbeatable workhorse of a notebook, please speak up. I'm about to make the pilgrimage to the electronics store again.

And the irony of it is, I once wrote copy for eMachines! Oh, the bitter cycles of karma.