Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Autopsy of My Recently Deceased Computer

The autopsy of my recently deceased computer revealed that it was yet another victim that was a direct result from my cooking. There have actually only been two 911 calls to the house concerning folks who had problems with something I had cooked but those cases were totally not my fault and death was not involved.
It had been a grisly, and slow death for my computer with many moments of the dreaded blue screen error notices and whirling fan noises, and then finally, and suddenly, the black screen with no response. Death. The internal organs of my once vibrant machine showed multiple exposure to heat, grease, dust and dog hair which resulted in its strangulation, asphyxiation, and clogged pathways. There was foreign matter on every board and the fan had been stuffed until it could not turn.. Death is never pretty but this one was bad.
My computer had lived its brief happy life in my kitchen about 3 feet away from my stove which I tend to use a lot. The fact that my grease hood quit working a long time ago lead my computer to fill in that job pulling the fumes and smoke away from the air, right to the mother board. Too much of a good thing finally gave way to the inevitable, slow and methodical death.
It is annoying how much of ones life can get wrapped up in the daily interfacing with a dang machine. The computer is a wonderful tool as a portal, transporting, educating, connecting, allowing us to interact and touch base with people we rarely see who are far away , and makes one feel part of something. When that fragile cord is severed, tho, to say it is "not pleasant" begs for clarification. It just sucks. Like falling off a high cliff without a net. With this untimely death of my computer with its clogged arteries, I first felt a panic, then a disconnection, sudden and very uncomfortable. All was black and gloom.
For the past week after the initial panic attack subsided, I managed to muster the resolve to begin the work of rebuilding my cyber life on another machine that would let me, once again, go where I want to go, and to do the chores and the fun things I did on my last computer. This began with moving files and programs onto a basically blank lap top that hubby Mark wasn't using. I have been in a form of limbo, in purgatory, at a point of non resolution and nonfunctionality while dealing with my grief and my reconstruction. What a royal pain that something has so much control over my life and created such emotional and functional havoc.
To temporarily escape this horrific disaster Mark and I took another road trip, this time to Atlanta, the other day to see the exhibit at the High Museum on Da Vinci's horse studies. A friend had seen my recent paintings of horses and had asked if I had seen it. She suggested that since I had not that I might like to go see the exhibit because it was quite impressive and that it was about to be closed.
The exhibit was centered around the work of Da Vinci, primarily of his commission to do the largest statue of a horse ever cast. For years he studied the anatomy of the commissioning duke's horses and drew hundreds of studies of legs, eyes, torsos, in every direction, and from every perspective, studying every proportion. The exhibit here had many of his original drawings, many done with silver ink on pastel papers, which over the years has oxidised and darkened, making the lines stronger and the drawn horses had such power and life.

There were fascinating translations of his notes famously written backwards to keep them secret. It was very cool to be seeing one of his hand written notes and drawings only 6 inches from my face. Seeing them in books does not give them the quiet reverence they deserve like seeing them in person.

The biggest part of the exhibit was about the horse statue tho, that was to have been cast in bronze but was never completed due to a war breaking out. A full size wax that was built back then, of the project, was apparently used as target practice and finally destroyed by the silly art loving French army during their occupation in Italy, an accomplishment right up there with having eaten the last of a now extinct species.

Recently an Italian firm took these drawings Da Vinci had done and recreated a resin of the horse, a full 26 feet tall version and finished it to look like bronze. Here it was now, prancing on the lawn of the High. It was extremely impressive in both its mass and size, but it felt as tho it might just finish that stride it was held in and come right on top of my head. Proportionally it made me feel like my Yorkie looks, compared to my horses when she stands at their feet and gives them hell with her barking orders. Marley has no idea about scale and no fear of being trampled. She rules the horses in my barn but his one might have been too much for even her.

Home again, home again, I am back somewhat reconnected with my new computer, sent bills out today, am blogging away, and am back to near normal on this thing. Still have got many programs to get loaded but horses are calling for me to bring them dinner so those things will have to wait. I am over the panic now and life with computers is moving on.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

what is the friggin point-itis?

I have nearly always been a pretty optimistic person with a pretty strong energy and a keen interest in the what's next in my day, or my life. Recently tho, I have found myself, for many reasons, in a more pondering and pessimistic mood about where I am in my life, what I have been doing, and what the heck to do next, what is the point of anything, what is the real meaning of life, etc., etc etc. I have, no doubt, been a really fun person to be around, right down there with Eyor. I am sure this perpetually sucking weather we have had since October hasn't helped my dreary mood either. Am I complaining? Oh yup.
My poor hubby Mark, having seen my deteriorating dour mental state developing over a while now, decided, out of self defense, that what I needed was a change of scenery. So the other morning we went on a day trip with the idea to take pictures and explore more of the Old Federal Road.
This road was the route that was used by settlers who needed to cross Alabama in the 1800's when much of the land we are on now belonged to the Creek Indians, extending from Columbus Ga thru the middle of the Alabama on down to the Mobile area . Our US government wanted the route to go thru these peoples lands and thus a treaty was written telling the Indians what was going to happen to their land. The US built this road, the flood gates of humanity opened, and so began the trouble with the settlers and the Indians which eventually led to all the wars and the final running out of the Indians from here to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Once the Indians had been removed the road no longer was a necessary way to cross the state and was largely abandoned for other routes.
Mark has long been fascinated with the history of this mostly forgotten road both in stories and in photography and he has spent perhaps equal time in the archives studying maps and surveys as he has spent taking photos. The surveys and maps he has studied have led him to many places where the road is still operational, whether newly paved or still dirt, and to the more remote stretches that appear as deep cuts and channels, now covered with trees,vines and mosses. What is left along the places he has found are crumbled sites of forts, and the many graveyards with ancient markers, wonderful white simple churches, stagecoach sites, tavern sites and homes, all of them, silent markers of a generation who so desperately wanted or needed a change in the life that they went into a hostile wilderness to try to find a new life.
We began our trek heading towards the eastern beginning of the road, on the Chattahoochee river south of Phoenix City. Our destination was Ft Mitchell, which we had heard had recently been reconstructed and supposedly a museum built, and carriage collection was to be seen. Our first two hours or so of 4 lane Hwy 80 was nauseating display of just how much junk can litter a beautiful geography. The lovely rolling hills were covered with dead car piles, appliances, squatty little houses that no one had lived in for ages, its ugliness defying imagination. We rode along taking it all in with a stunned and amazed sad silence, not helping my mood yet at all.
We found the fort and spent some time wondering around the cute little museum. The carriage house and collection of vehicles was a nice thing to see, with a very well kept variety of buggies, carts, wagons, and even a hearse. I briefly sat in the stage coach and realized very quickly that if that had been my transportation mode back in the day that I would have been the passenger throwing up on the others, part claustrophobia and part sea sickness. The reconstructed fort was well built and solid, and things were set up as tho the travelers were just out for a few minutes, sort of still inhabited by the ghosts.
All this history, this walking around in a ghost world, made me give thought to whether I would have had the guts to have lived in this place and traveled as these people did. What were their days like, and worse, their nights? It was an existence so drastically different from my own, and yet their basic wants and needs were no different from any of mine. Its good to ponder someone else's shoe fit when your own are seeming a bit uncomfortable.
We moved on onto the dirt remnants of the actual road and following the maps with overlain lines, made our way west. Long stretches of tall pines and quiet one lane roads with little sight of human intervention was such a nice peaceful change from the trashy chaos of the Hwy 80. We saw deer and hawks, stopped to photo the charming churches and the quiet, vacant houses. We chased a setting sun as it threw long dancing shadows and lit the tall grasses with a rich warm gold against an almost deep purple sky.
Once the sun had dropped from sight we got back on the modern roads and headed for home. My head was in a much better place from the change in perspective for the day. Mark was right, once again.