Wow, it has been a really long time since I posted. Those Christmas photos are looking dated already. There is no real excuse for this, but I will say that last week I was adapting to a new regimen (that I hope to stick to) and I’m having a good time not plucking away on a computer for hours like I’ve been doing for the last four years.
My laptop has been acting up and this has taken a great deal of patience from my end. Cross my fingers, I hope I have solved the problem, but the thing developed a mind of its own for a while there. I accidentally downloaded an anti-spyware program, you know one of those pop-ups where you try to close the box and it ends up downloading more crap onto your hard-drive. Sleazy bastards. When I tried to remove the program it wouldn’t let me uninstall, it said I had to close the program first—but the program wasn’t open. Yow! So this morning, after deleting everything in the file I could, I was finally able to get rid of it. Spy-Shredder is the name of the company, so beware.
I almost, almost, took it to Best Buy to have them look at it, but reason got the better of me and I stopped short of taking this drastic measure. For one, I would be without my laptop for ten days (this is an estimate, but a learned one). Then they would charge me as much as the computer is worth to fix a hypothetical problem that probably doesn’t exist. A condescending tech-geek would spread icing on the cake. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
So I spent the week deleting cookies and temporary files, defragging, rebooting, swearing a little, swearing a lot, praying and rolling cyber-dice. The problems have abated, but I still get pop-ups, one especially annoying one which promises to find the perfect partner for me. Right now the perfect partner for me would be someone who is good at preventing a computer induced melt-down.
But on a happier note, I bought a new car. A Toyota Yaris. It is about three feet long and gets 720 miles to the gallon. No, not really, but it feels like it. One tank of gas will allow me about 400 miles of highway driving. With current gas prices it takes about 30 bucks to fill up. For its size it is very roomy inside, and Booker has much space in the back when I fold down the seat. And it is amazingly fun to drive. I can whip around clueless motorists with far more flexibility than the truck, and I actually look forward to the commute. It is remarkably small, and wise-cracks about clown-cars from the motor-heads might ensue, but while they are parked on the shoulder thumbing a ride with a gas-tank in their hand, I’ll be zipping by singing Allman Brothers at the top of my lungs.
Oh, and—it finally happened. The day, as a commuter, I’ve been waiting for. I was on my way to work one morning last week and was passing a van in the left lane. I looked in my rear-view mirror and coming up behind me at an enormous rate of speed was a brand-spankin’-new Cadillac. He was coming on so fast that for a moment I thought he was going hit me. I still had about half-a-van to pass and I refused to change my rate of speed, so I had this guy attached to my bumper for about 30 seconds. Really obnoxious. I finally merged over and the guy shot past me doing about 100mph. One of the most brazen tailgating experiences I can remember.
Right where the highway opens up to five lanes is where the cop nailed him. I was praying for this, as I often do in similar situations, because the police patrol around this area in unmarked cars all the time. I have no doubt that everyone who this guy bullied off the road cheered when they saw him issued a speeding ticket. He was way over the speed limit which could result in a revoked license, and if he has any other infractions it is sure thing. I’ve been waiting on this to happen probably for as long as I’ve been driving, but for it to happen to this particular one, who was so obnoxious, made my day.
One of the things I like about the Yaris is that it has a little auxiliary jack. Now, I’m still living a little in 1995, so I don’t have an Mp3 player which is what this feature is for primarily. What I do have is an old fashioned walkman. Remember those things? You put these weird little plastic things called cassettes in them. They would play one side and then you would have to open the walkman and physically take the cassette out and flip it to hear the other side. Music storing devices, for many years kids, had two sides. Don’t even ask about LPs, we don’t want to go there.
This is advantageous because during the actual 1990s I did my best to actively collect as many tapes of hippy concerts (I kind of fancied myself as a retro-hippy, albeit a geeky one) as I could lay my hands on. I even went nation-wide, placing an ad in Relix magazine—the NYT of jam-band related stuff—and would receive packages filled with concerts in Belgium by Fishbone or somebody. This collection grew to around 500 tapes that all sit, gathering dust, in my new-millennium-digital media-center. Okay, it’s the extra guest room, but new-millennium-digital media-center sounds better.
What this means is when I put the archaic two together and plug it into the auxiliary jack of my new car many elements of time and space are joined. First you have the concert. Let’s take the Grateful Dead at the Springfield Creamery Benefit in 1972. You know, the one where it was 103 degrees and the guitar strings started melting, literally, not just through the aid of hallucinogens like they normally would. This tape was recorded by some stoned engineer on that day and then distributed through tape trading of many generations before reaching my greedy hands sometime around 1994. I listened it into the ground, and then placed it on my shelf in 2003 when archives.org allowed the show to be streamed in digital format. Now, with the marriage of old and new, I can rediscover the joys of a “crispy” tape. (I always hated that term crispy, it usually meant too much treble and hiss, plus it just sounds weird) And that is another positive element, I had forgotten how warm a well recorded tape with noisy background ambience can sound to a trained—or cheap, whichever way you lean—ear. So what if the Allman Brothers in Raleigh in 1990 makes my right eardrum itch uncontrollably when I turn the volume up past six. It is history man! Warren Haynes man! Don’t you get it? Uh oh, the 1995 me is coming back a little.
So I’m loving the car, and I’m hoping the computer will settle-down. We are at the mercy of machines aren’t we? But I’m not quite ready to except Laurence Fishburn into my life quite yet. That conversion is a long way off.
Post-Script: I like the name Yaris. I have no idea what a Yaris is and if anyone has a notion let me know. Or better yet, just guess. I like it because it sounds pirate-like. "Yarrrrrr, is that your new Yarrrrr...is?" "Yarrrrrr, it is." "Yarrrrrr."