In light of this year's cancellation of the traditional Golden Globes broadcast extravaganza (replaced instead by a press conference) due to the writers' strike, I will tonight be doing away with all of the song and dance routines - as well as all of my usual witty repartee - as I announce this year's winners of the first annual "Thanks, Guy" Dave Kopperman awards for people who might have done something of note over the last year that has personally benefitted me.
However, in support of the Film & TV guild, the Rambler writers are on strike as well, along with our staff historian, librarian and archivist, so we're just going to go with anyone who has helped me within recent memory - which, given my very thin sense of gratitude added to my very poor retention skills, pretty much represents the last, oh... say, 72 hours or so?
Anyhow, without further ado:
Best Link: Christian Kriegeskotte
This Pittsburgh based composer and noted crank forwarded me a link to a widget that would allow me to embed audio into the Rambler in a much more attractive way - which, given how lame the traditional little MP3 thing looks to my eyes, is a real boon. Examples of its use can be seen at his own recently resuscitated blog, which I've also added to my list of links. His blog is the best written and supplemented on the list - and far better than the Rambler - but, then, he does live in Pittsburgh and will probably die before the rest of us.
Mitigating factors: dogmatic approach to anti-dogmatism in music; may believe in the literal philosopher's stone; name difficult to spell.
Best Advice from a Total Stranger: Cathy (?)
I did my first full video chat last night. I started with Karl, and then we got the idea to try to add a third just to see how it works, so Karl called up the former Apple Sales Rep to his school district, a woman named Cathy (thus giving her the unique position of being the first person I've met via webcam). Cathy is a woman of strongly held life philosophies, many of which she was willing to hold forth on authoritatively without much in the way of prompting. The general advice had much to do with a better way of managing your life and finances, mostly through intense planning and real estate (both on Earth and in virtual space), of which she herself is living proof. The specific advice was how to find the IP address of my networked printer, which I had been unable to get from Karl in the past. So she did right by me. All in all, a pretty fascinating conversation.
Mitigating factors: drinks Coors Light; allowed her cats to be killed by her dogs, which seems a little unsportsmanlike.
Best Advice from a Financial Advisor: Hayes Griffen
The curious thing about being told how best to manage my finances by Cathy - who had done so with her own quite spectacularly - was that earlier in the day, Yesenia and I had visited with our own financial advisor with Ameriprise. Hayes is our second advisor with the company, and this was our first real extended meeting with him. Two hours later, Yesenia and I left the office feeling really optimistic about the future, which really is how you want to feel about the future whenever you can bring yourself to consider it. I recommend it as a good way to start the year. Specifically, Hayes looked at both long term goals and gave exact, practical advice on how to deal with current debt, which is a good mix.
Mitigating factors: meeting was on Saturday morning during my 'sleeping in' time; money scares me.
Best Metaphorical Deal With the Devil, and by "Devil," I Mean Microsoft Windows, and by "Metaphorical," I Mean: Bubba
After successfully getting the IP address for the networked printer, the time came to deal with the reason I wanted it in the first place: to tell the Dell laptop running Windows XP - nicknamed "Pazuzu" - to actually acknowledge its existence and deign to print to it. This was a project I've dabbled with over the last few months, always with the same predictable non-results. Over the course of the evening, Bubba walked me through a few procedures.
An early success of note was putting the Dell into DOS mode and pinging the IP address, and finding that, yes, the computer could see the printer. Sadly, Windows could not, which is a little odd considering that WIndows is on the computer. Running the Printer Set-Up 'Wizard" - obviously more Saruman than Gandalf - only resulted in Windows disavowing that anything could be found at that IP address.
FInally, we went through a secondary routine deep in some other function that miraculously got the printer found and printed to. It was, however, achieved in such a roundabout manner that I commented to Bubba that it was as if you were driving a car with standard transmission, and couldn't switch gears using the clutch - but it turns out that there's a second secret clutch under the passenger seat, and they neglect to mention it in the manual.
Bubba also walked me through defragmenting the drive and cleaning up a bunch of needless start-up programs that weren't found in the "Add and Remove Programs" function, so the Dell now runs at something resembling a useful speed, which Yesenia will no doubt appreciate, seeing as how she's chained to it as the only computer that will work for her online Translation classes.
Mitigating factors: Still finds Windows superior to Mac, in spite of all empirical evidence to the contrary; Depeche Mode fan.
Thanks to the efforts of these kind people, I can now sleep better knowing that the Rambler will be more current in functionality, my future is secured and my Dell can print. And isn't that what we all hope for?