Radiogurl a la Carte

Thursday, Mar. 17, 2005
Grilled Mice And Tea

You know, sometimes it takes a little insanity to put things into perspective. Had it not been for the way the past couple of weeks went, I probably would've considered today a crappy day. As it is, I am declaring it as mildly annoying.

It started off with me making a frantic dash to the store on my way to work and my bank card was declined. I knew I should have money in the account, but I didn't have time to sort it out then. When I got to work I opened the account and found a payment that wasn't mine. Voilá! Mystery solved. I had to backtrack to figure out where it came from, but once I found out who the payment was TO, it didn't take much to find out what happened and how. Remember 00 and Pipeboy and their cable bill? When they transferred the cable to their name, the cable company left my payment information on the account for automatic payment. Their error and they're supposed to credit me back for it. I also advised the bank so if they don't credit it, I'll pursue it through my bank, plus I'll hold them responsible if by their screw-up I end up with any bounced check fees. I tried to cover the stuff that's due to hit immediately, but I've got another payment that hits about a week from now. Couldn't cover that TOO.

In reality I'm glad I found out when I did - had I discovered it tomorrow, I would probably have acquired a bounced check fee for my electric bill right off the bat. (Most of my bills are automatic payment.) By finding out first thing this morning, it allowed me to cover that bill using other funds.

Second annoyance of the day: normally one of my biggest pet peeves is going somewhere in a hurry and grabbing a fountain drink.

The drink itself isn't the problem. It's the fact that some leprechaun or gremlin ALWAYS gives me the dribble cup. No matter how cautious I am, no matter what contortions I assume to prevent the cup from tipping in any direction, I invariably end up wearing a goodly portion of whatever beverage I buy. The worst of it is iced tea. I drink mine with lemon and no sweetener, so at least it isn't sticky; but tea STAINS, darn it. My light green shirt now has a yellowish-brown splat on it. Could still be worse. The standard-issue dribble is drawn like a magnet to the most visible points on my shirt. I leave it to you to figure that part out.

In light of the insanity of the past couple of weeks, I sighed, shook my head, and drove back to work to suck up the rest of the drink. The stain will come out with Pine-Sol and nobody died. And for once, it missed my boobs.

Other than those lovely moments, it was a day of swearing at the computer... er, trying to figure out how to fix the ongoing screw-ups with our Windows-based traffic program. (Remember, 'traffic' in this context is radio-speak for scheduling.) I'm still not impressed, though by finagling it I finally got the durned thing down from 195 bumped spots in a 24-hour period to 23 spots during the same time frame. Mind you, our schedule isn't so crammed that there's no room for this stuff. It's simply that the machine isn't smart enough to figure out how to fit them in. Either that or it's smart enough to know that it can routinely slough off that many without being uninstalled and trashed.

There are still additional problems, including an error every time I create a new day's log. I think I at least convinced Boss that if he doesn't plan on configuring absolutely everything himself, he'd better start looking into other programs.

I think he ignored the other things I suggested that he could do with himself if he doesn't start looking at other programs, but I digress.

The program I'm testing now is still in the trial stage. They've already released one update since introducing the Windows version less than a month ago. Yep, yep yep yep... I can tell this one's gonna be loads and loads of fun. Trouble is that there's no guarantee that buying another program won't result in the same kinds of errors. Unless you have the opportunity to actually USE the darned thing, you can't know how it will react within the parameters of your system.

Zooming into computer teacher mode for a moment here.

While I complain, computer programming is by nature inexact. Boss whines that companies use their customers as guinea pigs, expecting customers to find the bugs that the programmers should already have fixed. What Boss (and a lot of other people) doesn't grasp is that programmers will generally run a program through everything that they can think of, but the exact configuration of each computer is probably as unique as a fingerprint. You have to consider that you could be dealing with multiple hardware manufacturers within one machine - one for a hard drive, one for a power supply, one for a motherboard, one for a CD ROM, one for a processor, etc. Each item may have its own unique software drivers that will affect how other programs work with it.

And then there's other software. Besides the differences between Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, you have a bazillion updates, which can vary according to how the hardware is set up and what OTHER programs are on the computer. There are umpteen systems that automate radio stations, plus Windows, browsers, antivirus software, remote-access software, diagnostics tools, professional defrag tools, etc., etc.

If you're a programmer, even if you're the biggest nerd ever to wheeze out a cringe-worthy bray of laughter, you cannot possibly anticipate all the variations, much less test for them. You'd have to replicate each and every computer on planet Earth. Not exactly a cost-effective way to operate.

And sometimes fixing problem A can create a problem in area B. Kind of a domino effect (or a butterfly effect); a teeny nuance here can create a software hurricane elsewhere.

So don't beat up the programmers for not knowing why your precious machine suddenly wakes up singing Japanese Opera while it clangs and crashes its way to a nuclear meltdown. It could be a bad program or it might be that you didn't clean it out after your cat stuffed a dead mouse through the back grill. Feeding your computer a grilled mouse is never a good idea.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled diary.

I am also returning ME to some rest. I have work to do but I'm too fried to do it. I am going to go drink an iced tea out of a real glass, read a trashy romance, laze around in bed for a few hours, and pretend to be a real person for the night. I might even *gasp* sleep! Such unimagineable decadence!

Oh - and before I forget. Boss got a call from Mayo today. The thyroid tumor was already a given, but there had been several other puzzling things that didn't fit the classic mold. Turns out there is a reason for that. The official diagnosis is now Myasthenia Gravis, a form of Muscular Distrophy. It is treatable, at least somewhat; and in some patients (including Boss) it is accompanied by thyroid tumors. Not sure where things will go from here, but I hope Boss has enough sense to get out of the radio biz while he's still functioning at all. He's doing dramatically better this week, enough so that even his doctors were stunned. I'm guessing that's not going to last, but who knows?

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )