Friday, March 4 2005
It was day two of radio station computer hell, with me continuing in Clint Eastwood's role, in town to set things right. My problems today were more Eastwoodian than they had been yesterday. Instead of groping in the dark for protocols and configurations, most of what I did this afternoon was battle pencil pushers standing in my way as I strove to end this now two-day-old crisis. Unbeknownst to me, one of the problems I'd faced was that the software I'd installed yesterday was incompatible with Windows XP's Service Pack 2. So I needed to install a later version of the software, which the radio station was entitled to get under the software's license agreement. But for some reason the company that distributes the software was being coy about the latest release, demanding that we first fax them a sheet with our computer's specifications. I lied on the spec sheet, claiming the computer was considerably more powerful than it actually was. But even with the exaggerated specs it still wasn't powerful enough for the company's liking, and they wouldn't allow us to download the latest version until the station's operations manager faxed a handwritten note claiming he was aware his computer wasn't sufficiently powerful to run the glorious latest release of their code. This back and forth ordeal took hours, much of which I spent doing things like surfing the web and walking down to Little Brick House Pizza for a slice of their olive and salsa pie.
The rest of my time at the station was taken up with untangling a basic misunderstanding. This is complicated, so you're forgiven if the following makes absolutely no sense. The "server" I'd been trying to communicate with wasn't actually the server for the client process I'd been trying to run on the client. The server I needed to communicate with was really just another process running on the client machine itself, something nobody at the software company had thought to mention as a possibility. This whole mess probably could have been settled early yesterday on vastly more primitive equipment had I only known. As for the connection to the thing I'd thought was the server, all I needed for that was to map a shared drive.
This evening our friends from Tillson (Mr. and Ms. Tillson) came over for a brief post-dinner visit. Normally when one visits a friend one brings over food or beverages, but Mr. Tillson brought an even more elusive resource to our house: heat. This took the form of lumber scraps from Mr. Tillson's ongoing house remodeling project. Most of these were rectangular pieces of plywood which Mr. Tillson was excited about the prospect of burning (he has a distinctive punk rock distructive predilection that has mellowed only slightly over the years since his youth as a skateboarder in West Virginia). So I threw them in the woodstove and lit a match. The scraps were small and tinder-dry and burned with such a fury that the lower two feet of the stove pipe began glowing red. It radiated a heat I could feel like a fever on my forehead fifteen feet away. Concerned about a possible chimney fire, I cranked the damper to its minimal airflow setting.
Later we were joking around about which breeds of dogs and brands of beer are more "straight" or "gay." I thought Bud Lite's marketing was aimed mostly at straight women, while Gretchen was sure that straight men preferred Chocolate Labs. Nobody could really agree what the stereotypical gay dog breed might be; there were just too many of them. A Google search using the unquoted phrase gay beer unearthed a site called gaybeer.com, a hilarious screed against the dangers of Anheuser-Busch's supposed gay-targeted marketing strategy. One would think homophobes, the kind likely to make such a website, would prefer that gays drink to excess and die off prematurely, but I get the feeling that the person behind this website is lamenting the "loss" of yet another firmly heterosexual American institution to "the gays." First it was Apple Pie, then it was Subaru. Now, if this site is to be believed, the queers are laying siege to Budweiser (and possibly being fabulous at the same time). What next, Baseball?
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