Monday, March 22, 2010

Various Happenings

Well, I'm overdue for a post, but hey, I'm posting twice in over a month, so that's got to count for something. I do think I need to post more...since I get fewer comments if I post less, and I can't blame people too much for not checking in regularly if there's nothing here to read. Anyways, it's something to work on.

I had another computer meltdown, although this one was self-inflicted. I was trying to find something in my old computer's registry file, and I ended up corrupting my laptop's registry beyond my means to repair it. After looking at service options and being discouraged by the estimates I got, I decided to bite the bullet, wipe the hard drive, and install Windows 7. Windows 7 was not cheap, but it was only slightly more to buy it than the estimate I got to repair the computer at one place...and I'm planning on installing it on my inherited desktop, whenever I can manage to drive up and get it, so I figured it would be good experience. My other option, of just restoring the laptop to factory settings, was not an option since I had lost one of the restore CD's, and since it's over three years old I can't get a new copy. Windows 7 comes in DVD format, so it only requires one disk for the full install.

Anyhow, Windows 7 is pretty slick, and runs well even on this old laptop, which has the minimum memory required for Windows 7 and a very weak graphics engine. I had a bit of trouble getting some of my old peripherals to work with Windows 7, but after messing around for a while, updating drivers and system software and whatnot, I got everything working except for my old, old 2.0 megapixel camera which struggled to run even in XP. I didn't really ever use it for pictures any more (my phone is a 2.0 megapixel camera itself) but it did have a webcam option that I sometimes used. However, new webcams are pretty cheap if I ever get the urge to replace it. My biggest challenge was getting this one cordless handset I use for Skype calls to work, but eventually I succeeded.

So, now that I've bored everyone to tears with computer jargon, what have I been up to this month? Well, not a whole bunch. I've been trying to exercise more, with limited success. One good thing I've noticed, though, is that when you're out of shape, you don't have to do a long muscle workout to get your muscles tired. As for cardio, I've mainly been walking, since one of my knees doesn't like the pounding from jogging and I enjoy walking more anyhow. I need to get my bike tuned up as well and that might be another fun option for exercise.

In keeping with my newfound attempts to get in better shape, I decided to walk to a recent union meeting, held near where I work. I actually do live close enough to walk to work (about two miles and change) but it's not a realistic option to do on a regular basis, unless I want to allow an extra hour to stop sweating and change into work clothes at my health club (also located near where I work.) And in the summer, I'd probably need to allow 90 minutes to stop sweating (anyone who's lived through a humid Texas summer will understand this.) However, since I was just going to a union meeting on my days off, I figured nobody would care if I showed up in shorts and a t-shirt, and in fact there were some other people there in similar attire.

We got some good news at the union meeting about a new contract, and while I can't go into details, everyone was happy for the most part with what was negotiated. Pay raises tend to improve everyone's mood. We still have to vote on the proposed agreement but it seems certain to pass. So, after the meeting, and continuing in my attempted fitness regimen, I went to my gym and worked out, followed by lounging in the hot tub, steam room, and sauna, before finally showering and leaving. (Hey...the hot tub, steam room, and sauna are EXCELLENT reasons to go to the gym if you ask me. Those are my rewards for a good workout.)

Since I was kind of wiped after my workout/sauna/etc. I wasn't planning on walking home, but I did walk to an area nearby with several restaurants. One pub I've been to before was having a steak special that night, which I partook of, along with a couple pints of Stella Artois. I was DEFINITELY not in the mood for walking any further after that meal. Unfortunately, the bus I wanted to catch drove by right as I walked out of the pub, so I decided to walk one street over and catch an alternate bus.

Now, the area the pub was in is nice...there has been lots of new development there in recent years...but I soon discovered the neighborhood I was walking through near the pub was kind of a rough area, with lots of non-remodeled properties. I felt a bit out of place, but nobody bothered me any. I was glad not to be attempting to walk through there late at night, though. Anyhow, I caught the bus back with no fanfare after making it to the bus stop.

The bus stop near my apartment is next to a convenience store. I went in there to buy a soda, and when I walked out I saw a panhandler. Since I was in a really good mood after the union meeting, instead of just ignoring him which is my usual technique for dealing with panhandlers, I gave him $5. He then said he wanted to go eat at Boston Market, and the meal he wanted cost $7, and asked me if I had any MORE money. Well in fact I did, but I didn't want to give it to him, and I knew he could eat a meal at Jack In The Box just down the street for under $5, so I told him no. I then noticed he was drinking a beer in a small paper bag, most likely bought at the convenience store (they sell singles there.) I told him, hey now, you're going to use that money I gave you for food and not beer, right? He replied, very self-righteously, "Oh, I don't drink beer!" while holding a beer in his hand. Then he saw me looking at his hand and admitted that he might have ONE beer sometimes, but that was all. Honestly, that was so amusing to watch that it was worth five dollars right there. And I was in a good enough mood that I didn't care whether he bought more beer or not, really. However, I can see why cops get a jaded attitude about dealing with people after working the streets for a while. The panhandler did tell me thanks, but I won't feel guilty not giving one money next time.

All this drinking in bars, walking through rough neighborhoods, and giving money to panhandlers passed by with little fanfare. However, late that same night, I got up to use the restroom, and not wanting to blind myself, didn't turn the light on (I have a nightlight in there.) On my way out of the bathroom, I had left the door partly open, and, half-asleep, I walked right into the edge of the door, banging my nose, scratching it to the point where it started bleeding. I turned on the lights at this point and grabbed a washcloth. Like all head wounds it bled like crazy, even though it was just a small scratch. I had the wherewithal to remember to wash it and put on a band-aid, but I had forgotten about it until the next morning, when I walked in the bathroom to find a bunch of dried blood in the sink and looked at my reflection in the mirror. It's not a bad scratch, but it does look like a took a nice punch to the nose, possibly from someone wearing a ring.

I went into work later that day looking like an extra from Fight Club. Not many people have asked me about it, fortunately, although one of my friends said I should make up a story about how I got it by fighting off a biker gang. It should be better in a few days. In the meantime, I decided to skip going to church over the weekend, since I don't know many people there yet and I didn't want to have to explain myself to strangers. Especially since people saying "I walked into a door" is often the way people cover up domestic abuse. However, I'm single and live alone, and that's really what happened to me. (People who have known me for a long time and know how clumsy I can be will realize that "walked into a door" for me is the MOST likely explanation for what happened.)

More updates to follow soon, hopefully not involving personal injury.


Suldog said...

Nice of you to give to the panhandler in the first place, but damn. That would have made me reach into his bucket and take back the original fiver :-)

Merujo said...

Oof! Dude - feel for you and your noggin smack. Sounds like something I would do (on a regular basis, too!)

I've stopped giving money to the panhandlers here altogether. Our local homeless advocacy groups are trying to encourage folks to not facilitate behavior that might keep folks from seeking genuine rehabilitation, etc.

When I worked at the international headquarters of Goodwill, I carried around business cards for the rehab/work training folks in DC to give to people begging for cash. I'd tape a quarter to the card for a payphone call (remember when it was only twenty-five cents AND you could find a working payphone?!?) so they could call. I got a lot of those cards thrown back in my face. But, a few people did take them.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an update! Sorry to hear that laptop pooped on you, but at least you got W7 going. HP & Dell tend to be the best about keeping restore CD/DVDs available; I just bought a set for a client's laptop that is about 3 years old from HP. Was less than $20 w/ 2nd day air shipping.

Good news on the contract - TW is currently working without one, as his union has been been in negotiations for quite some time now.

Chuck said...

Suldog - Well, it was a $5 lesson learned, I thought.

Merujo - Yes, I think the best thing you can do is to help people get off the streets. But addiction is harsh, and even after it's cost people their homes, some still don't want to quit.

Thimbelle - This has been a good old laptop, but I knew Acer wasn't a "top notch" company in terms of customer support when I picked it out. I have created a W7 recovery DVD and regularly do backups to an external HD now, though, so I shouldn't encounter the same issue again. And I wish TW the best of luck in getting a new contract soon!

Heather Meadows said...

Good post. I enjoyed the panhandler story the way you told it here--I remember reading it before (I think on Facebook?) but it wasn't as polished.

Augusta has its fair share of panhandlers. There's one who always tells you it's his birthday. One guy said he was stranded in Augusta after having had brain surgery. And then one time a panhandler hugged me while yelling cheerfully, "I'm not gonna rape you!" That was fun.

A friend of mine had kind of a sad experience with her son and a panhandler, which you can read about here.

inchirieri apartamente cluj said...

Good thing you bought Windows 7. I have it too and it is a lot better than Vista or XP. That's my opinion.

Regarding your last paragraph… sometimes strangers can help more than a fiend would. And if they don't really know you maybe they will feel unconfortable to ask you.

news games said...

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