Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's that time of year

A little song about Santa.

First of all, a big thank you to all the people who left such supportive comments on my last, rather depressing, post. Judicious application of cups of tea, hugs from Steve, a Chinese takeaway, a DVD (Quick review: Colour of Magic, I liked it, David Jason does a cracking job as Rincewind but I can't help wondering what will happen if/when they do Mort, which requires Rincewind and Albert to simultaneously be in the same room), and a good night's sleep have seen me back onto an even keel.

Now for some good news: my laptop, my gorgeous shiny laptop, is resurrected.

Last weekend some sort of particularly nasty... thing... triggered and wriggled its pernicious little way all through my system. One of the specifically nasty features was that it blocked access to the sites for my anti-virus and my anti-adware/spyware updates. It did something to the way my computer accessed google as well, so that clicking any results links from a google search would take me instead to sites for more nasties. The computer would freeze and/or turn off completely and every reboot pushed the nastiness deeper into the system.

Steve did his best with it but it was bedded right in there. Eventually we took the decision to scrub the computer completely and start right over from a fresh install of Windows. After all, we had all the original disks and codes and whatnot, plus a backup of most of my files on an external drive. The backup wasn't perhaps as recent as it should have been, but I know all the important files from this year were on there - all I'd be missing would be a few pictures, half-finished blog posts, savegames and stuff.

And lo, for on the third day it rose again, and here I am, trying to get back into typing on a full-size keyboard (Quick review of eeePC: Handy. Functional. Light. Portable. Small. Very small. But bigger than a phone. On the whole I liked it. But, how can I say this... it's an ideal secondary computer) and desperately trying to remember my passwords for the sites on which I was logged in permanently. I've got most of them now, although I haven't done any shopping yet.

One slight hitch - you know how I was all relaxed because, hey, backups of most of my files on an external drive, nothing to worry about! Well it could help if I could find the aforementioned external drive. It's about the size of a cigarette packet and is somewhere in this house. I'm fairly certain it's not in the kitchen, toilet or bathroom. Unfortunately that's not helpful as this is a three-bedroomed house containing two geeks and therefore any amount of likely-looking wires, defunct remote controls, old mobile phones and various other oojamaflips which get your hopes up but turn out to be Not What You Were Looking For.

Other than that I really need to get on with my Christmas shopping. I think we've already passed the last guaranteed date for getting stuff shipped from the US to the UK before Christmas. I'm also now horribly aware that although within the UK, the last date for which the Post Office guarantees delivery of packages before Christmas is something like 20th December, that doesn't mean by extension that it's okay to order stuff on the 19th and expect it to arrive on time, as it has to be processed first. For our place, depending on factors like how many people we have working, how efficiently our deliveries arrive, and so on, we can process about 150 normal-sized orders in a day. If, on the 19th, we suddenly have 400 orders to process... well, we'll do our best, work overtime, draft in as many extra hands as we can fit in the room, but the room is of finite size and the day is of finite length, so it's likely some people will end up disappointed. Now is the time for online Christmas shopping if you want to be sure of getting the things you need without a panic.

Despite having no idea what to get anyone, I was all super-efficient and made sure people can have an idea of what to get me and a fuss-free way of getting it by making an Amazon wish list. But now I'm worrying that it was a little bit... off... when Mum said "so what sort of things are you after?" to respond by emailing an Amazon link - it feels like making demands. I did follow it up with a more personal email explaining that it's just some ideas and I don't care whether I get all/none/some of the stuff on the list. But even so I can't help thinking that a handwritten letter to Santa, referencing my intention of compliance with the "being good" clause for another year, with pictures cut out of assorted catalogues and stuck on with pritt stick to indicate the Things I Would Like Please, would have been more acceptable.

Actually that's another thing I'd like - a book of etiquette and household tips for such things as Making Christmas Lists As A Grown-up, Avoiding Being Healed At Dinner Parties, and Extracting Loved Ones From The Duvet On Cold Winter Mornings When They Have To Go To Work. I have Nanny Ogg's Cookbook which has much valuable insight, and VideoJug which offers a lot of practical help, but I still often feel like I'm floundering with things like this.


Anonymous said...

I was not informed of the presence of an Amazon list...
Does this mean I'm *meant* to be winging it, or does this imply that my usual standards of presents is such that an Amazon list would be too optimistic?


Mary said...

You've already got me something!

Of course if you want more ideas I can give you some very specific blunt-instrument-level-of-tact "suggestions".

Anonymous said...

As I couldn't find and wasn't aware of this wish-list, I've kind of winged it a bit. Hopefully purple will be okay (nb to readers - I did check which type of purple before purchase...) for your pressie :)


DD said...

"Extracting Loved Ones From The Duvet On Cold Winter Mornings" can be easily be achieved by sticking a wide awake Burmese cat under said duvet :)

Anonymous said...

@Dame Honoria Glossop:
I'm afraid that doesn't work too well with me. I have some wierd ability to calm small children and cats (and occasionally Mary) to sleep. Unless the cat were either ravenous or the opposite, the result would be a sleeping cat *and* evilstevie under the duvet. Once. The resulting talks about non-monkey animals in the house would be a bit loud... ;)
In other news, I had an efficient finding-morning before work, and located said backup drive. Huzzah!