Friday 19 May 2000

Path into forest

Pic of the day: OK, cheating a little here ... this picture was taken in daylight and on Wednesday. Didn't grab the camera when I ran for the bus...

Computer trouble

After I came home I played with The Sims a little bit, and wrote on an e-mail. I became very tired; so when I fell asleep in my chair, I went to bed for a nap. It lasted for about an hour. At the end of it, I woke from a dream. In the dream I was reading a comic book, and it looked very much like such a book might do. The drawing style was rough, much ink, sparse use of color. Not pastel, just much black and white and little variation in the colors. There was one large panel where the main character was in front of a large official-looking building, marble stone and stuff, and it flew a variant of the American flag. Not the one they have in this world. I got the impression that the South States had "won" the civil war. But I don't know if that means they won their independence or that they eventually got the rest over on their side. There was a corruption of law in that world. An America verging on despotism.

Now an equally disturbing thing was some pages later, there was virtually the same panel, obviously intentional. The same - or equivalent - building. But it did not fly a huge flag. Instead the front was decorated with an enormous green leaf - a hemp leaf. The building seemed to be in a state of disrepair, but the streets held happy people, as if celebrating something. I woke up.

I returned to my computer and found that it had locked up, doing some obscure automatic process in my absence. I had to restart it by pressing ctrl-alt-del. And of course I had a floppy in it, just like the time I had to send the PC to repair and it took about a week and I had a breakdown and had to spend the night in the hospital. Ahem. This time however I had a boot floppy made for this particular PC. Problem is, I had it at work. The bus for town was leaving in 9 minutes from the bus stop 10 minutes from home, and I was in my underwear. Well, I did catch the bus. Indeed, I came early enough that I got to look around in the small wooden wind shelter at the bus stop. There were the familiar hasty writings on the white boards, and one that was new to me. It read: "I did not catch the bus. ARG!"


The next bus home was at 23 in the evening. Luckily there was no fighting at the bus station, even though it is a Friday night. Norwegians tend to be drunk and stupid on Friday and Saturday nights. The rest of the week, we tend not to be drunk.

Walking home from the bus shortly before midnight felt unusual. It was nearly dark, but not quite. We have reached the part of the year where there is no real night, even here on the south tip of Norway. The sky was a smooth dark blue, the full moon yellow as butter, presiding over a few tiny clouds near the horizon. Only the most luminous stars were out and about. One star hastened across the sky, blinking regularly in a white light. I suppose it was a spinning satellite, from its speed. I felt a sting of loss: There should have been cities up there by now, wondrous towers, their sails of light awe-inspiring bright as they caught the sun. But the year 2000 is here and the future has still not come, except to our computers. I felt our failure almost personally.

But the air was filled with scents barely remembered. As I walked in the still night, they shifted: The sweet smell of flowers in their late bloom, followed by a whiff of smoke. Charcoal? The path through the forest took me through the smell of decaying plants already. The snails are probably feasting as the summer dew starts to settle. There have been a lot of them just lately. They remind me of us: Earthbound, frail, slow, living off dead organic materials. We got the intelligence, they got a sense that tells them of coming rain or humidity. To each his own.


It will surprise no one that I did not get the Toshiba to start with my boot disk. Well, it did boot...
Not an encouraging sight. I do not know how often I rebooted it. When started without the boot floppy, it displayed a jumble ... no, two jumbles of random characters in various colors on backgrounds of various other colors, then stopped while the floppy light kept shining. If booted from the floppy, it just gave me the DOS prompt. I tried secure mode. I read the help file and tried again. Eventually I performed the SYS C: from the floppy, transferring the system files to the hard disk again. (Though it is beyond me why they would disappear from me booting with a data floppy in the floppy drive.) I removed the boot disk and tried again.

What a beautiful sight that Windows symbol on a pale blue screen was! I started in secure mode, and turned off the computer in an orderly way. It took its sweet time starting again, but now it seems to be the same old same old. And boy am I happy for that. In a surprising move, familiarity now breeds contentment.

And from this we can learn: All is well that ends well!

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