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June 8 1998, Monday



he weather has been very strange lately for this time of year (unless Bethesda is very much different from Charlottesville, something I don't believe is true). For the past several days, the air has been cool, dry, and incredibly clear. I have occasionally even been cold while sleeping at night, and I've systematically turned off all the overhead ceiling fans. Today it was a little more humid, but not one bit warmer.

Perhaps the strange weather is responsible for the hard drive problems on Nancy's Computer. After a few bad sessions early in the day, it started working again as good as ever, and scandisk reported no bad sectors. Maybe the problem isn't the hard drive at all. Perhaps the processor fan is seizing up and, as the Pentium 166 MMX overheats, it generates disk errors as a side effect. Those little fans that sit ontop of processors are notoriously unreliable, especially in dusty environments. Modern computers should be built with the ability to detect whether that fan is running or not; it would be an easy feature to toss in with all the other amazing functions so cheaply put on motherboards these days.

Hard drive failures are relatively rare in my experience. I have a hard drive that works like new that was built in the early 80s (it's only 10 megs in size and just a curiosity, but whoever paid $2000 for it originally would have surely been pleased to imagine it would still be going strong in 1998). Drives built today are much more reliable. The only drive failure I personally ever experienced (for a drive I didn't send back immediately) was with a Maxtor 120 SCSI Megabyte hard drive purchased in 1991. It lasted until late 1997 when stiction (the platters refused to turn because the heads gripped them too strongly) got to be a problem. At my old employer (the now-defunct internet provider), where we had several dozen hard drives turning all the time, hard drive failures happened once every eight months or so, though these failing drives were probably somewhat defective upon manufacture.


n addition to the orgy of uploads and image processing done today, I also went around tidying up the house to undo the little concentrations of mess I've created. I never really moved in, but I've been kind of messy in the places where my activity has been intense.


ancy and Brian returned from their travels at around sundown. Everything was in working order, even the computer. The only casualty of my stewardship was the one unnamed goldfish. But to blame me for that (a statistical possibility at any time) is like blaming snowstorms for all deaths that occur while the snow is on the ground. Or it's like blaming Bill Clinton for floods and tornados that occur during his administration.

Brian went out to get Coronas and a movie, American Werewolf in Paris, while Nancy mostly caught up on things internet-related. She could often be overheard in the background giggling over whatever it was she was reading while Brian and I watched hapless frenchfolk being torn limb-from-limb by computer-generated werewolves. The art of computer movie animation still has a ways to go; the werewolves didn't appear to be especially well integrated into the sets. And another thing, I really hate that Bush song called "Mouth," which -of course- gets cranked up loud during a predictably fucked-up love scene. Still, the movie was better than the usual haunted house thing. People really were killed and there really were reasons why "they" shouldn't "go in there." At times its campyness kind of reminded me of Rocky Horror Picture Show (what I've seen of that movie; I'm not a RHPS fan)

Later on, there was a special on "Tortured Geniuses" on A&E and tonight's tortured genius was Andy Warhol. I've never quite figured out whether Andy Warhol was a genius or just an idiot (I entertain the same doubts about Gertrude Stein). But he was famous, and that was his goal. His art was fame itself.

Speaking of Gertrude Stein, Jessika really likes her book Ida and claims that its chief protagonist reminds her of Deya. But then again, Jessika is always finding things that remind her of Deya. In the days of Kappa Mutha Fucka, Jessika would be flipping through an old magazine, come upon a picture of a little girl and exclaim "That's Deya!" and then run for the scissors so she could hang the picture in the bathroom. (I had a conversation with Nancy tonight in which I related the facts of this paragraph.)


one year ago
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