SOUNDS

I Almost Named Her Jacqueline

It is with a heavy heart I announce Black Betty is no more. My trusty laptop of the last four years suddenly and unexpectedly retired to the great network in the sky last Saturday morning, serendipitously after I had just finished backing up all my files. Some ninety minutes later, I drove to the nearest retailer of name-brand electronics to purchase her successor…



This new gal is running Windows 11, which I’m personally finding to be the most frustrating version of Windows since the widely-panned Windows 8. Those folks in Redmond have tossed a lot of the best features and interface elements of Windows 10 for no apparent reason (like that visually striking full-screen start menu — whose idea was it to get rid of that?), but that’s not even the half of it. This new system is very cloud-oriented. They pretty much expect you to do all your work on the cloud, which is not the way I’m accustomed to working. I have close to half a terabyte’s worth of archival data, and syncing the whole enchilada would be a bandwidth-intensive and tedious process. Time-consuming to boot. I can easily see the whole job lasting several days. Days I’d rather be spending doing something else. So for practical reasons, I can only sync the files I’m currently working on, leaving everything else in the archives. If there’s something from the archives I want, I must necessarily get up off my arse to fetch my removable drive and plug it into the USB port. While I appreciate that she automatically archives everything on the cloud the second I hit save, that whole having to getting up off my arse bit is a definite minus.

Upon booting her up for the first time, I launched Microsoft Edge to do the only thing I ever use Microsoft Edge for — downloading my browser of choice. I thought it was real cute that the system gave me so much attitude for doing that. Like I committed the ultimate mortal sin. I’m sorry, cupcake, but Opera has been my go-to browser for years and I’m not going to stop using it just because some corporate shill whose tie is on way too tight says I should.


It has long been a custom of mine to give all my devices proper names. There’s a method to that madness. When I hook these things up to a local ethernet, the names make them easier to identify. If I see several laptops on a network, I’ll know right off the bat which one is mine. She’ll be the one called something like BLACK-BETTY as opposed to one with some forgettable factory-issued identifier like ACER-284-H3823-GH01.

I did briefly consider giving my new laptop a name that fully captures the essence of her personality. Decided to nix that idea in the end, though. Mostly out of laziness. Couldn’t come up with an appropriate name along those lines by the time I got around to establishing a Bluetooth connection with my phone. She needed to be called something for networking purposes, so I hastily christened her with a moniker that’s been floating around in my head for a few years that I haven’t used yet. Thenceforth, she has been known as SWEET-LORRAINE. After the Uriah Heep tune.


TASTE

A Question of Balance

I actually halted working on the book for about a month. Mostly because I’d reached a point in the narrative where the focus shifts to the villainous faction of the story. There was a question I philosophically wrestled with during that time on whether the (impartial) third-person narrative voice should adopt a tone for this chapter that’s in any way different from earlier chapters that focused on the hero and his trusty sidekick. On the one hand I really want to convey the innermost workings of the antagonist’s head, but on the other hand I want to avoid telling the audience what to believe about him. A certain equilibrium between the two would be ideal. It’s a matter of knowing when to lean to one side and when to lean to the other. Not the easiest hike, but I’m forging ahead with it.


SIGHTS

A-Tikkin’ and A-Tokkin’

As a comfortable majority of us are aware, talk of a change of management at Twitter is afoot. Depending on to what extent the Muskian suckage sickens The Bird (which I anticipate to be significant, on account of our new would-be overlord’s dastardly plot to reanimate the orange monster from its eldritch crypt for no reason whatsoever other than for the evulz), I may find myself switching to another platform as the primary social tentacle of this website. Methinks the time has come to give that new kid on the block a whirl. I’ll probably get bored with TikTok after a week, but it’s nice to know it’s there as a backup in case Captain Elon’s woeful neglect of the rat problem forces me to abandon ship.

My voice isn’t the oratory chocolate of Sir David Attenborough and I probably totally goofed in putting this maiden TikTok creation together, but as an exercise in getting my hands dirty with the platform, it works.