Life: September 2004 Archives

Go Axe Mommy

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The kids decided to empty a huge boxed filled with class notes from high school and college, along with what I have left of my role-playing game days and a bunch of magazines I collected during college. They decided it would be nice for the box to look nice and neat with nothing in it but air. (They clear tables for neatness's sake also.) Unfortunately, it meant covering our entire dining room floor with papers that were now no longer in any semblance of order. Then they took all the books off one of the bookshelves in there and spread them out over the top of the papers just for kicks. So I spent the morning sorting through all that instead of doing anything else that I might have been able to do in the time I had before coming to campus to teach at 11:30. It took two and a half hours.

While I was doing that, Ethan walked into the dining room with a pack of microwave popcorn, as he is wont to do, and tried to give it to me to show that he wanted some, which is one of his ways of avoiding asking for things. Sometimes, much more often than he used to, he will say things like, "Want some popcorn?" This, of course, is what we say to him when he wants popcorn, but he doesn't quite understand the indexical nature of personal pronouns and the fact that different sentences are contextualized to who is saying them. So he tells us what he wants by saying what we say when he wants them. I told him to go ask Mommy, because I know she wants to limit his popcorn intake but have no idea what her criteria are for when he can and can't have it (for instance, he had three bags of microwave popcorn one day, but other days he can't have it presumably because he had some the day before; sometimes he's allowed to share a whole bag with Isaiah, and sometimes they can only have half a bag). I prodded him out of the room, and I had to exile both of them at one point with the new Veggie Tales "Sumo of the Opera", which they received in the mail from my mom yesterday.

Well, after that was over Ethan came back in the room with the popcorn, not having asked Mommy anything, and he handed me the popcorn. I handed it back to him and was about to say something, when he said "Go axe Mommy", thinking he was repeating what I had said to him last time. (He does this too, saying things like "That's Isaiah's" when we try to stop him from doing something that has nothing to do with Isaiah. All he knows is that it's what we say when we don't let him do something.) Now I don't exactly know where these violent tendencies are coming from, but I told him I don't have the proper equipment for such a procedure. Well, eventually I asked her, she said it was fine, and he had his popcorn, but what struck me as interesting in this was the combination of a normal child development issue with one of his abnormal developmental issues. Not understanding the semantics of pronouns and other person-relative expressions is normal for kids learning language, but it usually gets picked up in a short time. Kids with autism-related problems take much longer to learn that sort of thing. But reversing the 'k' and 's' in 'ask' is something kids usually take a long time to get right, and there are entire dialects of English in which it's correct to reverse them from how standard English does it (in pronunciation anyway, not in spelling). But Ethan is usually extremely good at pronunciation even without knowing the meanings. He even does the accents of the Wiggles or Veggie Tales characters. So it was weird to see him flat-out saying 'aks' for 'ask' without even thinking there was a problem with his pronunciation. He usually knows when he's wrong.

More Computer Woes

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In the middle of normal computer activity this morning, I had to go in the other room to check on something. I placed my computer on the floor, went and did whatever it was, and returned to find an error message on the screen saying that there was some sort of problem and the computer had to be shut down. When I tried to restart, it said I had no bootable drive. I checked in the BIOS, and it didn't detect the hard drive. I haven't tried the hard drive again, I haven't run a disk checker on it, and I haven't tried it in another computer yet, but I think it's shot. I didn't back up some of my stuff recently either.

Fortunately, most of what I need for my teaching is online in some capacity, and the only thing school-related that I lose if I can't resurrect the hard drive is previous semesters's gradebooks. The racial classification paper I've been working on would also be gone, but I have a printout of the latest version of it. There's lots of other stuff that I've collected into easily accesible form that I'll just have to re-collect if I need it, but that can be done with some difficulty, and only the only really important thing that would be completely gone would be email. I have a backup of Outlook from a year ago, I think, but the last years' messages would be entirely gone. I can get a list of what I intended to blog about from a week or so ago, but I don't have anything I added to it in the last week, and I don't have the list of sites I was keeping to see whether I want to add them to my blogroll. The reason this is most annoying is because I've had at least one completely new and unrelated computer problem every single week this semester, actually even starting before that.

My Values and Priorities

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When I was in college, one of my spiritual leaders advised me to write up my values and priorities, and I did so and wrote it up on my website. I've revised it a couple times since then, the most recent version from the summer of 2002. In the interest of eventually getting the best stuff from my old website to appear here and in the interest of not having to type up too much new stuff on a day when I seem tied to a sick kid who doesn't like anyone but me, I decided to use this as my 650th post. Don't assume that I actually live up to what I say in this, but when I'm most reflective on my life and my motivations are purest this is what I'm looking toward. I've changed a little this time around, but the main body of this is as it appears on the old site. Please excuse the bad jokes.


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In an odd bit of synchonicity, I was also having computer problems. Over the past month, my ability to connect to the internet on this computer had been getting increasingly spotty. Three days ago, I lost connectivity altogether.

I had been having other problems with my computer as well, but I could not continue to work on this computer without connectivity (my ability to update webpages for my clients was particularly difficult to do without it).

So I finally bit the bullet and reformatted my machine.

Which completely failed to solve my connectivity problem. Grrrrr...

I finally narrowed down my problem to my ethernet port (not a card b/c it is built right on to my motherboard). So I disabled it in my hardware profile and threw a new ethernet card in. Finally I'm back up and running.

I Like Being Right

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A Dell technician just left after replacing my motherboard because of a faulty power input. I've been running on batteries for the past few days, charging them in Sam's computer while my computer was shut down and then rebooting every time I need to use it again once the battery is charged. After the new motherboard was in, I reinstalled my sound card drivers (which I'd reinstalled many times while it wasn't working, to no avail), and the sound worked immediately (well, once I realized I needed to turn the volume back up again). So I was right all along that the previous motherboard had a bad sound card, something I thought was true back in April or whenever it was that I got the new motherboard. The Dell tech guy was insisting that it was a corrupt operating system and wanted me to wipe my whole hard drive and reinstall to see if it was software. The Dell tech I talked to this week about my power problem told me I was more likely right than the other tech guy, and the woman who came to install the new motherboard agreed. Sure enough, I was right. Well, it's nice to have sound again after months with just a system beep. Too bad they wouldn't replace my motherboard back when they should have, since it was their fault.

Update: Well, it's not over yet, I guess. This motherboard is defective and keeps freezing up, and they won't be able to fix it until Wednesday due to the holiday. So I'll have much more spotty access to anything on my computer for enough more time that this will be well over a week total by the end of it. I'm going to have to be extra careful to save important posts as I'm tying them, or I'll lose stuff, and I might not want to try taking on anything too time-consuming, e.g. the next affirmative action post on reparations. Maybe I'll just decide to do it on Sam's computer, though, and use this one primarily to transfer files. I'm not sure it's a good idea to use this computer too much with memory parity interrupt errors coming in at no provocation. I'll have to see how bad it is, and that will take some use.



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