Tag Archives: old

I love my computer

I love how my computer gets really hot. When I first open it up, it’s not hot at all. The brushed aluminum casing is maybe even a little cool to the touch. And I start typing and I’m thinking, man, if only this computer were really, really hot. Like, if there were only some way for the internal temperature of this machine to just shoot up, really fast, out of nowhere, man, I’d be so happy.


And then, it’s crazy, but every single time, my prayers are answered. It’s like there’s a little mind-reading troll that lives amongst the circuits and processors, and he’s like, did somebody say hotter? Zap! He uses his magic powers to make it really, really, really hot. Like so hot that it’s almost too hot. Almost, obviously I’m still typing, so it’s not too hot. But just below too hot, like a nice really hot cup of tea, or a bowl of French onion soup that takes half an hour to eat because it’s so hot, or one of those days at the beach where it feels like you can’t step on the sand because your feet are burning, but you have to, and you do, and it’s fine.

It’s like resting my wrists on two of those hand warmers that you use when you go skiing in the winter. How do they get those things to work? Here are two not-warm-at-all fabric pouches, and as soon as you open them up and expose them to air, there it is, warmth. Maybe they have something in common, my laptop and those warmies. Because my computer is definitely warm. If only there were some way for me to type on this computer while I’m skiing. It seems like such an obvious solution.

I also love it how my computer’s fan starts going into overdrive anytime I do anything more than just opening a simple Word document and typing. It’s like, I’m typing right now, and it’s fine, there’s nothing else going on, and so all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the wrist-heat. But if I click over to my web browser? The fans start spinning, the computer is telling me, whoa, easy Rob, one thing at a time buddy. Or if I start watching a two-minute YouTube clip? I can just hear my computer asking me, Rob, can’t you just watch that video on your cell phone? Is anybody else getting really hot in here? And just when I think the fan won’t be able to spin any harder, it does, it’s making like a really uncomfortable wheezing sound, eventually so loud that I can’t hear the sound coming out of my tinny little speakers, and so yeah, I’ll just watch it on my cell phone, that’s not too big of a deal.

I love it how if I leave my laptop open, long enough for the screen to go black, it never turns back on again. I mean, the computer is on, it’s just that the screen is black and I can’t get it to wake up. And I know it’s on, I’ll hit the volume button and hear the little “bwop” sound, like everything’s working.

Now I know, it’s not a problem anymore, I just have to close my computer the second that I step away from it. But man, getting to that point, it was a lot of trial and error. I’d go to the bathroom for a second and come back to a blind laptop. I brought it to the computer store and they were like, sorry brah, that computer is too old, we’re not going anywhere near it. So I had to go on the Internet on my phone and learn about something called PRAM, and there was a lot of hard rebooting and cursing and holding down specific keys and … well, I got it working again. Everything was deleted, but so what? That’s what you have the cloud for. And I only had to do that master reboot like three or four times before I figured out just what was making it tick in the first place. I think. Please don’t turn off on me again, computer.

I love this computer. It’s a giant middle finger to the whole computer industry. Everything in modern technology is all about being new, getting a new device every year or so. Not me, I’ve had this same machine since 2006. Did I mention how warm my wrists are? And as long as this thing holds up, I’ll never buy anything else. Never. I hope that this computer lasts me the rest of my life. I hope that my descendants all use this computer, that it keeps working for hundreds of years to come, that in the future, it’ll develop a near mystical reputation, a sort of divine machine that refuses to obey the laws of simple mechanics. This computer is the best. If you ever came up to me and said, “Rob, I’ll trade you this brand new computer for your really old, hot, temperamental machine,” I’d say, “No deal.” Seriously. Try it. Make me that offer. I’ll say no.

I’m a traditionalist

I’ve always thought of myself as a traditionalist, someone who sticks to what works. Why put all of your faith in innovation when some things are perfectly fine they way they are? Like turning signals. Call me old-fashioned, but for many years, drivers shared the road just fine by sticking their hands out of their windows and pointing at which way they were going to turn. But try telling that to the cop that pulled me over last week. He wouldn’t hear it, gave me a ticket for a broken turning signal, even after I showed him, “Look, it works just fine, I just prefer to use the hand signals!” he wouldn’t even respond to me, just kind of tore the ticket out of his book and let it float down in through my open window.


But I can’t expect the police to understand the values of tradition. They’ve practically given up on everything that’s come before them. Routine police work has been overtaken by all sorts of scientific mumbo-jumbo, DNA evidence, surveillance camera tape. When was the last time you saw a detective take out a magnifying glass at a crime scene? That’s like the most basic detective skill I can think of. No, but these modern specialists are all about forensics, taking pictures, using that two-way trick mirror supposedly to make suspects feel as if they’re not being watched.

And come on, if I’m ever in a room somewhere, and half of the wall to my side is a giant mirror, of course I’m going to assume that there’s someone watching on the other side. You know how old-school cops would do it? They’d interrogate a crook with everyone in the force watching, staring. You think a mirror is going to help extract a confession? I’m telling you, this new technology is ruining the force.

It’s ruining everything. It’s ruining dentistry. I went in for a checkup last month and there was this giant TV positioned right in front of my face. Whichever way I turned, regardless of what angle the dentist reclined the chair, I couldn’t turn away, they were playing Everybody Loves Raymond. What happened to sitting in a chair and listening to the soothing sounds of drill-on-tooth? Why do we have to be constantly entertained?

And yes, I still got to hear the drill, which I thought would have been enough to distract me from Raymond, but this fancy dentist thought of that one too, there were subtitles running along the bottom of the screen. When I was a little kid, there weren’t any subtitles. If you couldn’t hear the TV, if the volume button on the set was broken, and your little brother flushed the remote down the toilet, you just had to sit there and guess what they were saying.

And we liked it that way. What’s wrong with giving a kid a lollipop after he gets out of the dentist’s office? Call me an originalist, but I hardly feel like a free toothbrush and a travel-sized tube of Colgate Total makes up for the hour that I had to sit there and feel a tiny metal hook go back and forth over my gums. And go ahead, tell me that it was my own fault, that I shouldn’t complain if I turn down the laughing gas. My grandfather didn’t get to use laughing gas when he went to the dentist, neither did my great grandfather. And they had great teeth.

And they used to tell me that stuff like that was good for you, that sitting there being strapped to a chair while your mouth was in agony was a healthy thing. Like when my kids get braces, I’m going to insist on the old kind, a whole mouthful of metal, and I want those things cemented in, the kind of an adhesive that leaves a discoloration on their teeth after they’re done straightening everything out.

Go ahead and laugh at my antiquated ways, but it’s like I always say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to invent something else that improves on how it currently works.” It’s not as catchy as “don’t fix it,” but the gist is the same, and catchy phrases are nothing but grammatical trickery, a bunch of newfangled words arranged in a convenient jingle. No thanks, I’ll stick to how they’ve done it before, old, tested, that’s it.

Some urban legends are true

Did you know that when a person dies, their hair and nails will continue to grow? It’s true, long after that last breath is drawn, the hair keeps coming out, the fingernails and toenails keep get longer and longer. I always tell this to people and everyone’s like, “That’s not true, that’s just a myth.” One time some serious looking guy tried telling me that it was about the body shriveling up, thus giving the illusion of more hair and nails.


But that guy clearly never saw a real dead person. I remember when my grandfather passed away, he died on a Tuesday, and they took him to the morgue and my parents met with the funeral home director. Friday rolled around and all of the family members had to show up early for the wake. At first, we walked in and we were like, are we at the wrong place? Because the guy in the coffin, he had a beard. And this wasn’t just a little stubble either, I’m talking a full-on beard.

It was only after covering up the bottom part of the guy’s face could we even recognize it as the body of our grandfather. “Sorry folks,” the director came in with a pair of clippers, “You know how it is, right? The hair and nails, they just keep on growing. I just shaved him an hour ago, but, well, just take a look.” And that’s when I noticed the nails too, they were like half an inch past the fingertips.

While he was busy making grandpa look nice, one of my aunts told my brothers and me, “I hope you kids know to save all of your nail clippings when you’re done.” And we were like, what? “Why should we save them?” my brother asked, and my aunt replied, “Because if you have any enemies out there, an easy way to get revenge is to collect all of your old nail clippings. They can take them to a lab, sequence your genome, and depending on how much they’re willing to spend, they can manufacture all sorts of personalized poisons that would only be toxic to you.”

And right as I was about to object, the funeral guy came over, “You’d be surprised how many bodies I have to deal with that met exactly that fate.” I’m telling you, I know it sounds unbelievable, but the director told us that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish homemade fingernail poisons from more natural causes. “Why don’t you go to the police?” I asked, but he dismissed my suggestion, telling me that there wasn’t enough hard evidence to go on. And besides, what if the police were in on it?

“So what are you supposed to do with all of those old nails?” my brother asked. “I used to save them in a jar, and when that jar got full, I’d take it deep into the woods and bury it. But I haven’t done that in a while, because the last time I was out there, I was almost attacked by a bear.”

One of my uncles was at the periphery of the conversation, but mention of the bear was enough to get him involved. “You know what you’re supposed to do if you run into a bear, right kids?” My uncle told us, “You lay on the floor and cover yourself up with leaves, and then you stay perfectly still, you don’t even move a muscle.”

“Exactly!” the funeral director told me, “And I was lucky enough to get away.” And I always thought that you were supposed to make loud noises or something, that if you stay still you’ll just get mauled. But apparently there was so much I didn’t know about bears. He continued, “Unfortunately, that trick only works once. After a bear is fooled into confusing your scent with the earth’s, he becomes immune to the deception in the future. That’s why I can’t go back.”

“Well what are you going to do with those nails that you just clipped from my grandfather?” I asked.

“I take them and I save them for future funerals. I’ve found that if you stuff lots of fingernails into the mouth cavity, it seems to slow the post-mortem growth that I was talking about earlier. Unfortunately for you folks, I was running low on clippings, so that’s why your granddad over there looked so unkempt this morning.”

So there it is, right from the funeral director’s mouth. Next time you hear some smarty-pants try to debunk the whole hair and nails thing, don’t believe them, because they do keep growing. Also, that whole business about not breathing when you drive past a cemetery? Keep holding your breath. While you’re not guaranteed to inhale a lost soul hanging around a graveyard, you might, it happens every once in a while. Better safe than sorry, right?

New furniture

I’d been meaning to get a new couch for a while now. Not that there was anything necessarily wrong with my old couch. It was perfectly comfortable. But it’s been through a lot, a few moves, more than a fair share of spills and accidents. My dog came of age with this couch, meaning that a couple of times I’d walk into living room only to find that he’d torn open the fabric and strewn all of the stuffing across the floor.

I did my best to collect all of that cotton and put it back in the cushion, to sew it all up. And it was fine, from a practical standpoint, it was usable. But the lines from my repair job were an eyesore. Also, it used to have an electric chord that would make it vibrate, there was a seat heater I think. I never got to use any of those features because my dog chewed through the wires almost immediately after I got it.

So I made up my mind that it was time for something else. Only, making that decision is a lot different than actually executing a plan, picking out a couch, figuring out how you’re going to pay for that couch, how to get if from the furniture store to my living room. And what was I supposed to do about the old couch? Is it one of those things where I just have to drag it to the curb and wait for it to disappear?

I figured that before I just tossed the couch outside, it wouldn’t hurt to see if I couldn’t make a little money. It had to be worth something. I mean, yeah, it looked kind of beat up, but it was comfortable. It was clean. Maybe a hundred bucks? I took a photo and put it on craigslist for a hundred and fifty, hoping they’d try to bargain me down to a hundred.

I’d act out a little bit of reservation, “Jeez, I don’t know …” making all of these pained facial expressions before I’d cave, “All right … I guess I could do a hundred.” And then I thought, man, maybe I should have put two hundred and have them bargain me down to one fifty. But the ad was already posted, and someone emailed me back immediately.

It was two guys that had just moved to the neighborhood, they stopped by later in the afternoon to check it out. “We’ll take it,” they told me after patting it, sitting on it, bouncing up and down a little. That was way too easy, almost no negotiation involved at all, I totally should have at least tried for two hundred.

But a deal was a deal and they had the couch out of my place by evening. Wow, I thought, that was so easy. I basically went from being overwhelmed with having no idea as to how I’d go about starting this process to standing right here in my living room, no couch at all. This place looked a lot bigger with no furniture, and dusty, I guess I should try and use the Swiffer over this way every once in a while.

Then I wanted to watch some TV before going to bed, but without a couch, I tried using one of the kitchen chairs, a hard-backed solid wood piece. It was so uncomfortable. I gave up after half an hour or so, telling myself I’d watch on the laptop in my bedroom, but I fell asleep as soon as I hit the mattress.

The next day I had to work, so I couldn’t go couch shopping, and it was the same deal the day after that. Finally I had a day off and I went to the furniture store, everything was like a thousand dollars, fifteen hundred dollars. Sure, they had some stuff for a lot cheaper, but everything felt not right, like if I had spent four hundred dollars on a basic model, it would have been a downgrade from what I was using before, albeit a brand new downgrade.

I turned to craigslist, and after weeks of nothing, I found an ad for my old couch. I called up the guys, they said they liked it, but it wasn’t really meshing with their apartment. I told them I’d be glad to take it back, but they wouldn’t budge from the advertised two hundred dollar price tag. I met with them for like an hour, my best defense amounting to me standing around saying, “Really? Come on. Seriously? Two hundred? Come on.” But they were good, I caved. I paid up.

After I handed them the cash, I was like, “Can one of you guys help me carry this thing outside?” And they were like, “Yeah, man, we’ll help you get this back to your old place if you want also, we’ve got a truck. What do you think, twenty-five bucks sound good to you?” And I didn’t know what to do, they got me again, I thought about saying, “Really? For real?” again, but whatever, I just wanted to watch some TV, so I took out thirty dollars. Neither of them had a five to give me change.