Friday, June 26, 2015

It's a Wonderful Day

From the groundbreaking case of Goodridge v. DPH, 400 Mass. 309 (2003), the pioneering decision of Massachusetts' highest court that opened the way for gay marriage to become legal; the key passage by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall:


Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. “It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.” Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a “civil right.”

Without the right to marry – or more properly, the right to choose to marry – one is excluded from the full range of human experience and denied full protection of the laws for one’s “avowed commitment to an intimate and lasting human relationship.” Because civil marriage is central to the lives of individuals and the welfare of the community, our laws assiduously protect the individual’s right to marry against undue government incursion.

That same-sex couples are willing to embrace marriage’s solemn obligations of exclusivity, mutual support, and commitment to one another is a testament to the enduring place of marriage in our laws and in the human spirit.


We led the way; today we celebrate a victory for all Americans! Hurrah!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

More Fun With Computers

As posted on Facebook, my diary of descent into computer hell:

June 16: I'd mentioned in email to a friend I was having computer issues. She commiserated with me and I took the opportunity to unload all my frustrations:

The computer thing is more than glitches. My primary Win7 desktop had been getting increasingly erratic, so I brought it in yesterday to the shop for a checkup, which revealed it was riddled with malware, despite my antivirus software and best efforts to be cautious. It’s still there, being tidied up. That left me with two backup desktops, old XPs that I no longer connect to the Internet since Microsoft stopped supporting that OS, just use for certain offline tasks, plus the Win7 laptop I’m using now.

I decided to buy a slightly used Win7 laptop at the shop for a backup just in case. I’d already made two trips to the shop, the original dropoff and a second to bring in the backup external hard drive of the desktop for checkup. Third trip was to put a deposit on the second laptop and provide some info for initializing it. Even though the shop is only a few minutes’ drive from home, you can imagine how much of yesterday got chewed up by all that.

Today was another trip to the shop, to pick up the “new” laptop, pay the balance, and check on desktop progress – won’t be done till tomorrow sometime. I’ve tried not to spend much time on the new laptop but of course couldn’t resist rearranging the furniture and hanging new wallpaper to suit me, also uploaded a bunch of My Documents files I’d copied to a thumbdrive from my older laptop; imported all my bookmarks, then had to get the appropriate ones into the toolbar; tried to import a file of my contacts into Outlook – and somehow managed to bork Outlook so thoroughly in the process that not only did I not fill the address book, I managed to disable Outlook entirely. It took a good hour of struggle, including a desperation system restore, to get Outlook functioning again.

I still have to install two printer/scanners and manually input my entire address book, but that will have to wait till tomorrow; I am done for now.


June 17: Got the main computer back and running fine. Now the old laptop is in to be virus-scanned and cleaned.

And because I had both laptops running and online to email at the same time (so I could go through the old one's Outlook address book to manually input contacts into the new laptop) I had to leave the new one in the shop also so it, too, could be scanned for any uglies that might have leapt onto it during that brief window of opportunity.

Hopefully I'll get the new one back late this afternoon; if not, then tomorrow. The old laptop may take two days to ream out.



Later yesterday: Got the new machine back, clean of any problems, no charge -- just as well, considering what I'm getting soaked for to fix the other two. Installed the two scanner/printers, no problem, just some customization tweaks to trudge through. Still getting used to this new keyboard. Still have to assemble the new mobile cart that got shipped to me today; then I can figure out how to reconfigure the side-table setup around my recliner to fit in a second laptop along with the first plus the two printers, all within easy arm's reach of the controls from where I sit.

Why, yes. Yes, I am rather obsessive about my technology array.


This morning: *YAWN* -- was up till 3:00 a.m. getting out proofreading that had slid up to/past its delivery date while I wrestled with technological hell. Woke up at 9:00, lay there for a while gathering wits scattered to hell and gone, then at the cats' insistence lurched into my day. Feel like molasses in November heading into December.

Still, I appear to be in the home stretch at this point -- just have to get back the primary laptop from the shop if it's done today (and pay the last installment on the grand-plus this has cost me), also assemble the new mobile cart and rearrange the setup around my downstairs recliner office, with laptop(s) to my right hand and printer/scanners to my left, since it's still uncomfortable for me to work long stretches upstairs in my office. Also have two rush/expedites to get out today, plus whatever regular delivery work I can manage to slog through.

At this point my electronic collection encompasses two offline elderly XP tower desktops, one just out of the shop Win7 all-in-one desktop, two Win7 laptops, five, count 'em five inkjet printer/scanners of varying utility, a photo-quality color inkjet printer, a B&W laser draft printer, and a low-end inkjet for printing checks. Gateway, Dell, Canon, Lexmark, HP, and Epson all own a piece of my soul.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fun With Computers

Had to bring my main desktop computer from the upstairs office to the computer shop for virus removal and general tuneup today. The laptop I use downstairs will probably have to be next. Decided to buy a slightly used backup Win7 laptop while I was in the shop, just in case. All in all this has been a very expensive day, considering this is going to set me back over 700 bucks when it's all said and done.

I got an email in late afternoon telling me the laptop is ready for pickup with what I wanted installed -- just too late to go get it today. I'll pick it up tomorrow. Also, after much tedious searching, ordered online a small wheeled printer cart with two top shelves that will do nicely to maintain both new and old laptops next to my recliner, with a third, bottom shelf for holding paper reams. And while I was browsing to pick that out I found my favorite paper (Domtar Earthchoice) on sale at half price so I grabbed a couple of cases of that, too. Should get all that delivered Wednesday.

I'll still have to get the new laptop passworded into my router, of course, and install a couple of printer/scanners, upload a number of files, my bookmarks, and my email contacts from the thumbdrive I copied them to, get various settings set the way I like them, get certain shortcut icons on the desktop, etc. Then, when it's all operational, I can take the laptop I'm using now into the shop to check for viruses. And then, when the office desktop computer comes back clean of malware, I can zoom around changing all my critical passwords. Such fun!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Game of Thrones: Why I Quit After Book Three

First, let me make one thing clear: George R.R. Martin is a brilliant writer and his stuff is powerful, fascinating, compulsively readable and incredibly imaginative. I’ve read all of Dreamsongs Volume I and most of Volume II, and if you have not read these collections of his numerous and wide-ranging works outside the GoT world, I strongly recommend them.

And that very talent as a writer is why I can’t read any more of the Song of Ice and Fire series. I started it with enthusiasm, galloped through the first book rapt by and wrapped up in the amazing saga, read on, and on, and on....

And by the end of the third book I’d had enough. Enough of cruelty, enough of brutality, enough of a world brimful of savagery, merciless, thronged with loathsome characters, where anyone evoking the least flicker of sympathy in the reader is viciously mauled at some point, beaten down into sick misery and suffering. It’s too much, it bothers me too much, to go on wallowing in such a world.

I had a similar reaction to John Sanford’s “Prey” series of detective thrillers. They too are compulsively readable, fast-paced, intriguing – and the criminals Lucas Davenport confronts are horrifying monsters. I think it was the one that ended with the little girl in the well that did me in – just couldn’t bear to enter his world any more.

Am I a weakling, then? Too sensitive? Heaven knows I’ve read some mighty gruesome stuff over the decades and never flinched – though I find my tolerance for such content waning in my waning years. Do I want only fluffy puppies and kittens? Oh, hell, no; I’m currently making my enthralled way through the Vorkosigan Saga, and that’s by no means all sunshine and rainbows. I’m also reading Adam-Troy Castro’s collection of short stories “Her Husband’s Hands”, in small doses; those are harsh and difficult stories too, powerfully affecting because so well written; but by spacing them out between other people’s works I can very much admire and enjoy them.

I’m getting old, time is running out, there are so many books, so little time – maybe it’s just a matter of deciding, don’t waste what time is left on worlds that I find repulsive. I can admire the craftsmanship that created worlds so brilliantly realized that they disturb me, but I don’t have to go there.