Progress Report

It is week two of installing and learning the ins and outs of my new computer, and I realize that I will not live long enough to learn it all. Between the iPhone, iMac, and all the supporting programs that make the machine useful to me I’ve lost my voice from screaming at them.

I began using a Grammarly program to punctuate better and write more clearly. It needed an update. I did the update, but it bonged me because the Word program I use also required updating. Excuse me? I clicked the link to take me there without any other recourse but to update Word. It is good that Bill Gates no longer works there and lives in a very private place with tons of security because I would be convicted of murder if he wasn’t protected. Why? I’ll tell you. Since I have regularly had to update my Word 365 program, I mistakenly clicked on re-register instead of as a new customer. Then, the fun began. I got into a circular argument about my wrong password or username. I chased and chased using every user name I usually use with every password I have ever used with Microsoft, and all of them failed. All I want to do is give you money for the privilege of using your valuable knowledge, and you give me shit about my passwords! Thank God, Lovely called me to have dinner. I left the room and did not return until this morning. The first thing on my list was to update my Word program so I could then update my brand new Grammarly program and maybe do something productive.

I went to Microsoft directly and used their online order system this time. I defied them by claiming to be a new customer, thinking their AI would treat me more kindly. It worked. I went through as a new customer using my old username without a password. One difference from yesterday was they quoted 69 dollars for WORD 365, but today it was $79.

My future is uncertain, as I look forward to learning how Microsoft has cleverly hidden all of its standard features behind new buttons on new pages to do the same old things. Only then will I finally be able to update Grammarly and attempt to master the wizardly world of English grammar as presented by Grammarly AI.

Technology is Good?

Finally, after more than a week, I have my new computer working to a degree. No doubt, it will take me the rest of my lifetime to figure it out. Strangely, it has the same look and feel as the Iphone I use. That of course is purposeful. More people than ever are using their phones to do all of their business. My problem with computers is crime. The computer age has developed a new form of crime associated with people using them to do their personal business, and even their work related business. I am not one of those. It seems my work life came to an end about twenty years ago when the pocket computer age began ramping up.

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My biggest problem with understanding the new PC’s is the need for passwords. It won’t be long before we will need passwords between every word we type. Although I understand the need for password protection, I personally feel the companies are going about implementing security in the wrong direction. Instead of having to issue new usernames and passwords for each device and every new application you choose to use, the gurus of silicone should learn to use their own technology, so endearingly titled Artificial Intelligence, as a vehicle for keeping criminals out of our computers. Or, maybe they can’t do that because the Artifical Intelligence they so proudly proclaim will take over the world isn’t so intelligent after all.

For the past week I found myself chasing my tail like a whirling dervish on program after program trying to find a way to use this machine. They (I assume there are thousands of, bright young nerds residing within the machine) ask for a user name, then a password. Then, they reject one or the other without indicating which is the culprit. Out of desperation I click on “forgot password” and the next revolution of tail chasing begins. I finally ended the chase by dialing Apple and begging for help. An energetic young lady with a heavy Asian accent began issuing instructions. After relinquishing control of my computer screen to her, she was quickly able to direct me to the various buttons I needed to resolve the problem.

Having solved one problem, I directed her to another, and after the third problem, I noticed an impatience on her part to help. We finally parted ways and she told me to call again if I needed more help.

Today, I turned on the new computer fully intending to resolve any password issues on my own, only to be stopped in my tracks when the screen lit up. I touched the button to give it my fingerprint, and that triggered a response asking for a password. I proudly typed in the one password I had memorized for this machine and WHAT???? The gremlin within announced that either my username or password was incorrect.


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Dreams, dreams, dreams, what do they mean, and where do they come from? This morning, after my 6 a.m. pit stop and return to bed, I fell into a deep sleep that was not deep enough to black out dreams. In fact, that early morning second sleep seems to be conducive to dreaming wild ones. I haven’t worked for a living for twenty-two years, yet I saw myself doing what a Chief Engineer does: manage people, discuss solutions to technical problems, and create new products when they come to the desk. The level of my activity was intense.

Then, the dream fast-forwarded to a time when the company decided to move my division to another part of the world. I was no longer doing things a Chief Engineer normally does. I was doing nothing, except purging my paper files to reduce records to what would be necessary for the foreigners to operate, which is nothing in my experience. My staff was down to a secretary, and a few engineers left to manage the move of our stuff to Singapore.

I kept coming to work, and there was less to do each day and fewer people. I saw my desk with the PC atop, but the bookcase, and conference table with chairs were gone, as was the side chair to my desk. The wall was barren of the white board where I drew sketches on countless new projects and outlined myriads of projects, but the clean space was conspicuously still there. I sat staring at a computer, waiting for some emergency from the production floor to need my attention. Behind the wall, the production floor was empty for one lonely molding machine pushing out parts automatically without any human intervention. We had to build an inventory of this part number to cover the time that the machine and mold were on a six week fast boat to the Far East.

I came in the next morning, and my desk and PC were gone, and in the corner of the office lay a pile of miscellaneous clothes from the now-empty closet. I began to daydream about the forty years I spent in this space and all the seemingly important activities I had immersed myself in to feel important while neglecting my wife and kids in the name of making a living. I was all alone in an empty office, in an empty building, my wife dead long before, and my kids dispersed all about the country, earning a living for themselves. I was feeling sadness even though I was sleeping.

The dream didn’t end there. The sadness continued to overwhelm me, but time had moved on. I was now sitting in my car parked in front of the apartment building that I looked at for years from my office window. However, the office was no longer there. In its place stood a six-unit, three-story condo building. Behind this new apartment where the factory once took up 50 acres of land there was now streets and sewers, and power poles. There was not a shred of evidence that there once existed upon this land a living breathing factory that employed thousands of people twenty-fours hours a day to make simple electrical products used by electricians around the world. The sadness kept getting stronger and deeper, and my brain finally began to sense sounds coming from the house, water running, the aircon blower spinning, and I told myself to kill the sadness, get up, and take a walk.
Here I sit, mid-day still feeling blue about life in the past that I can’t change.

Shift the Focus

It has been awhile since my last post, but it doesn’t mean I’ve been sleeping. Although I have slept during those hours, just not during all of them. My body odometer turned another year, I have taken multiple baby steps on my latest project and have concluded that I am ready to finish. From this point on all I want to do is to admire my completed work. The admiration will begin within the week.

I had a lovely time visiting with all three of my kids at the same time. They presented themselves as birthday gifts, and I absolutely loved it. The only one missing from the fun was their mother, but I know she was with us in spirit. On August 17th, I celebrate Barb’s twentieth year away from me. Thank God that among her last words to me were, “It’s time for you to move on with your life.” I’ve done my best, but it would have been infinitely better had we spent these past 7200 days together. Grief still appears out of nowhere, and now it comes from two directions, one from Barb and the second from Peggy. My dreams, however keep them separated from each other. I think that is a good thing.

Throughout the many visitors and celebrations I managed to continue taking baby steps on my work which I have decided to call “Libre” which translates from Spanish to “free.” I began reading again, but to give myself a vacation I have sworn off books by William Faulkner. He didn’t resonate with me. His writing style was good, but his vocabulary. dialect selection, and story lines were out of this world. I found myself hating to read. I completed “Go Down, Moses” and began a second story from the same volume called “Requiem For a Nun,” After one chapter I closed the book and returned it to the library where is will reside collecting dust until the end of time. In order to catch up with my reading goal, I have selected large print stories that were copyrighted in 2023. Both of them are stories about super human CIA warriors fighting battles in mid-eastern countries.

This morning I followed up on a pledge I made with myself to begin walking again. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. What amazes me when I am walking is that so many people pass me by. In my mind I am putting a lot of effort into speed walking, but in reality I must be doing the deed in slow motion. I guess I have to give up on competing with the youngsters, and forget about how fast I can cover the miles, and shift the focus on finishing.

Four Score and Five

years ago a thirty-four year old lady from Hungary, and living in Chicago gave birth to a boy. He lived. Back then many new borns died at birth, but this boy survived. His father who was also from Hungary named him Joseph. Two years earlier this father lost his first born son Joseph Junior, age six, to scarlet fever. This new son was a replacement for his namesake and first born.

The sadness associated with these circumstances has always placed a damper on my birthday celebrations, and throughout the years I have spoiled many a celebration on this day with my sullenness and refusal to show a hint of happiness. This year seemed no different, even though my friends came, and we drank wine, and we had a seemingly great time. I shifted my paradigm however, by claiming it was not my birthday because my birthday was the next day. Instead I told them we are celebrating a going away, I am leaving 84 behind and going toward 85.

My three kids all called me to wish me a happy birthday and that made me happy. My oldest son has reached the age at which I had retired from my job to live happily ever after with my wife Barbara. He will not be able to retire yet for a number of years, and it is the same with my daughter and youngest son. They all live lives raising their children and working like we are all supposed to do. My grandkids are all responsible citizens, and that makes me very happy.

With each passing year I develop a new sense of urgency. As my time on earth shortens, the fire to complete my goals increases with intensity. Like my current intarsia art project burns inside me. I keep telling myself that I can’t leave the planet with an unfinished pile of wood pieces which my kids would not know how to deal with. At least a completed work could become a reminder of who I was, but a pile of wood?

The next project on my list before I start a new intarsia work is to complete the manuscript for my first novel, Space Rod. As with many projects I put writing a book aside when my second wife Peggy needed my help to negotiate Alzheimer’s dementia. She has been gone for four years now, and I either have to finish the work or find a new reason to use for not doing so. Unfortunately, finding reasons to blame are a whole lot easier to come up with than putting in the hard work and time to finish. My story line has had a lot of time to fester and I’ve had many ideas for how to change the story, but in the end I think I will proceed with my original line of thinking. I always thought it was a good story idea so why should I change it now. I can’t rest until I send the manuscript off to be published.

So many things to do, and so little time.