Thursday, Dec. 02, 2004
Of Mice and Monitors
I am going to try this again. GWTW suggested in a note that I save to my notepad, then paste over to Diaryland. Given the way things have gone for the past couple of nights, I'm doing exactly that!
I worked again on the computer for the lady with the feed and tack business. Unfortunately she managed to collect one of the nastier combinations of viruses and spyware, the kind that keeps reappearing no matter how many times you delete it. One of them is BonziBuddy - spyware that is notorious for hanging on like a nasty fungus and mucking up the works on your computer. It's possible to get rid of it, but it is most assuredly not easy. But when you combined Bonzi Buddy with a couple of recurring trojans and two other, comparable spyware packages that effectively lock you out of removing them, I figured it was time to throw in the towel and reload windows. I backed up all of her documents and am loading the system now.
If I hadn't already spent so much time fooling with it I probably would have tried another solution, but I could futz with it from here to Christmas and still not kill the durned things. So I wiped the drive and started over again, clean install, voilà! Nice fresh computer. I was going to upgrade her to Windows XP but her machine is too old. It won't take it. She will still be happier with Win2000 than Win98. She also got a new monitor, and I upped her RAM to 256MB from 64MB and will be installing Norton SystemWorks so she's not hit by more bugs once I'm done with this puppy!
I ended up working so late last night, though, that by the time I got home and realized I'd left all of my news stuff at the studios, it was too late to go get it for recording. As a result I ended up going in at 5am this morning, grabbing my papers, and running. I still recorded them at home, so soon as I finished I could fall into bed. Alone, darn it.
Ah well, most of the time I'm at least okay with that. But there are still moments of weakness/rationality (depending on your point of view) when I really miss having someone there. Someone besides kids with their hands out, kids coming into my bedroom to use the computer at 2am, stuff like that.
I was privileged to have a personal tour of the new mine site today. I got a few photos, but was more interested in the history of the site. It's actually an old mine, one that was functioning nearer the surface. It was still operating under previous ownership until 1970, but one of the interesting details is that part of the mining operation was its own privately-owned railroad. And there's one more intriguing detail there - the engines on that railroad were steam engines, which operated all the way until the place shut down in 1970. If I remember right, it was the last steam line running in Arizona. (Other than a couple of 'tourist' steam engines running in the northern part of the state now.) This operation was also the first air-conditioned mine in the US (if not the world, can't remember that part for certain.) The cooling tower, associated with the original AC, is still standing.
All in all, I was tickled pink that I was invited to tour with these folks and extremely honored to have even been invited. I don't know how many other people have received similar invitations, but I have yet to see a newspaper spread on it.
Then again, I am fascinated by this sort of thing. It's tangible history, places you can still visit and see and touch. As an added layer, the company has become an advocate for the community on yet another level, engaging high school students to help with a living history project, interviewing people who lived in a very different world. When this mine originally opened, and well into its first period of operations, the work force and the town were strictly segregated. A lot of people are still around who can recall those days, and the company has documented them on video, with plans to distill it into a short enough format to suit PBS. I'll try to let you know if and when it's aired. I'd definitely be curious to know if it's only aired locally or if it's on all PBS stations nationwide.
This particular mine won't be here in town. It's about fifteen or twenty miles from here. But the segregation and other scenarios described were equally applicable here. Even the old cemetery is segregated - Slavic, Hispanic, and other heritages each had their own segment of the graveyard, some separated by elaborate white iron fences and gates. There weren't a lot of blacks here (and still aren't - I think there are maybe two or three families) but at one point we had a chinatown. I don't know if we have anyone still living here whose family sprang from those bloodlines.
A little further out of town, in a demi-community known as Top of the World, the heritage is a bit more colorful. It was rather famous in its time - for its whorehouses. There's a lot of colorful history in this community, too. Geronimo was captured not far from here. Countless old-west outlaws have slept here, including Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp. And while the houses of ill repute in Top of the World were famous in their time, the sex business didn't start and stop there. Virtually all of the buildings in downtown Miami, Arizona, once housed prostitution on their upper floors.
Mining here goes back a long ways. Several of the outermost hillsides are still pocked with old mine shafts. The law notwithstanding, there are still several that haven't been filled in. It's kind of tough to prosecute an owner who's dead or whose whereabouts are unknown, and to fill in the holes you can't see until someone falls into them. I've had to report at least one death from precisely that, though it was years ago.
I suppose I'd better get this posted tonight. I need to record my news stuff and get to bed. I got virtually no sleep last night so am definitely in the mood to make up for it tonight. Tomorrow and Saturday I'll be going back to school. Now that is likely to be interesting. It's a grant-writing class. If anyone is not clear on that, it's a big deal, especially to school districts and municipal services. Grants can be a significant way for small cities and towns to keep their roads paved, water systems working, and sometimes just keep the lights on. There are other grant applications, but those are big ones. And good grant writers are always in demand. I don't know the going rate, but for example, I know one agency that handles grant applications collects 18% off the top. When you consider that most grants are in the tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes more (occasionally even in the millions,) it is a big deal.
Oh yeah - and when I get back, somebody remind me to tell about a time in Phoenix, when my kids were babies, and we had mice. Mice that weren't in the least afraid of humans.
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 - )