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igmoe

When Computers Byte Back

...or, rather, when Word freaks out and makes an attempt at communication--

So I was listening to the first act of The Mikado and I was editing a draft of a paper that my advisors had given me their feedback on, and as I'm going through the handy multi-colored-change-tracking-notes-for-each-writer (whilst thinking, "How many subtle shades of purple and dark blue ARE there? And ooh! Is that green a pine or a fir?" "Magenta or red?--let's put them SIDE-BY-SIDE for maximum eyeball strainage!"), I'm right-clicking steadily away: Accept Insertion. Accept Deletion. Edit a bit. Reject Insertion. Accept Deletion. I wish I could select the whole knotty group of these and ACCEPT THEM ALL--but NOT have to do an Accept All Changes-- Accept Insertion. Edit. Reject Deletion. Edit. Accept Ins--


"The specifier must then determine what events the Response property pattern template's action and response pattern parameters map to in the alphabet of this property..."


This monotone male-ish computer voice is intoning over the cheery strains of "Three Little Maids From School Are We," leaving me momentarily disoriented, because that wasn't on the CD before...

Oh. Wait. The computer is READING MY PAPER TO ME.

How charming. I didn't even know it could do that.

And...um...how do I turn it off? There's five more pages to go! I pause The Mikado.

It's amusing for all of five seconds (for some reason, it seems to think that "FSA" is pronounced "fuh-saw" and "DNL" is pronounced "D...N...L" (very slowly), though those two acronyms are right next to each other. Darn those vowels!), and by then I'm starting to get a little bit of an ear-ache. I wandered away to find a computer guru in the lab, but by the time we'd gotten back, the reading had inexplicably stopped.

Of course. I'm hearing voices. I know this. It's been like this for a

very

long

time.

I can only conclude that the computer was attempting to attain sentience and communicate with me, but that the Universe (rightly so), squelched the feeble strainings before further horrors were perpetrated on more than myself.

Good thing I'm used to hearing voices.

...

I'd been feeling just a touch down this year because my family had (very practically) decided to do Christmas last Saturday. (Yes, I know, it was the 20th. But nobody really knows when the Divine Tot (somehow doesn't quite work, does it? :) was born, so Christmas really ought to be every day...)

My mother said they weren't planning anything for Christmas Day, but she "might do a lasagna." It inspires holiday cheer in spades. :) I didn't want to go hurling myself on someone's doorstep, moaning about how I'm a lonely grad student, FEED ME and KEEP ME WARM, so I bucked up tolerably well and decided to look at the bright side: I'd get to spend all day shuffling around in my pajamas. Elastic waistbands and all that.

--oh wait, I already DO shuffle around most days in elastic waistbands. Never mind.

(Why should old people and pregnant women be the only ones who get to do that, anyway?)--

God had other much cooler plans in store: I got a phone call this morning and will be having a friend from Kazakhstan staying with me until Friday! She'd been staying with someone who had pets and her allergies unexpectedly kicked up really badly. My place is perfect, because I live by myself and have extra beds and my two cats only live in the basement...plus, it inspires me to get up and drive her over to my mother's lasagna! We can play board games and share our lives with her for a day...which is really the point of Christmas anyway, isn't it?

And there I was, thinking, Woe is me, all alone for Christmas. If I hadn't been alone, plan-less (because, really, how common is that during the holidays?), it wouldn't be so easy to give.

Much fun! Totally looking forward to the next few days! :)

...and looking forward to being with my loved ones again... :)

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